Cyber-Rating For New Vehicles

Vehicle resilience centre combines functional safety, EMC and cybersecurity testing to contribute to the development of a future consumer rating system for new car buyers.


ar buyers have long had the benefit of having access to ratings and detailed reports on the safety of the vehicles they’re thinking of buying. Maximum 5 star rated vehicles have met expectations for crashworthiness, pedestrian safety

and the provision of both active and passive safety devices that reduce the likelihood of an accident and mitigate the results of it respectively. This testing is done through a global network of New Car

Assessment Programme (NCAP) centres that collaborate on new standards and develop road maps that move the goal posts as technology improves. The European centre is EuroNCAP and much of its testing is done by the UK’s Thatcham Research.

NEW MOVE TO SECURITY However, with the rise of new technology becoming a common component of new vehicles – from in-car entertainment to connectivity that will boot up our homes as we drive there – manufacturers must have proven, built-in safeguards and resilience against the emerging threat of cyber attacks. Furthermore, the arrival of Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) is also accelerating the debate around technology’s role and impact on road safety. Thatcham Research is now extending its role in vehicle

safety testing to consider cybersecurity and vehicle resilience as part of the Innovate UK funded “5StarS” consortium to build consumers’ trust in both vehicle safety and cybersecurity. As well as Thatcham Research, the 5StarS consortium also

draws on the expertise of such industry giants as HORIBA MIRA, Ricardo, Roke and Axillium Research. These companies are working together to provide a roadmap to increasing assurance, which starts by meeting the requirements of the emerging regulations and standards such as ISO/SAE 21434, while introducing independent vehicle vulnerability assessments. This allows the framework to be adapted to cope with continually changing threats. This will include a risk rating system to reassure consumers about their choice of vehicle. Paul Wooderson, Cybersecurity Principal Engineer at HORIBA MIRA and 5StarS project lead, said: “An easy-to-

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understand rating system is essential for customers’ peace of mind, as is demonstrating that appropriate security measures are in place.”

VEHICLE RESILIENCE TESTING A vital aspect of providing test expertise within the consortium is HORIBA MIRA’s new Vehicle Resilience (VRES) Technology Centre, which is the world’s first engineering and test facility dedicated to a combined approach to automotive cybersecurity, functional safety and electromagnetic resilience. VRES represents a significant investment into HORIBA

MIRA’s engineering and testing capabilities, consisting of £1.5m of capital expenditure complemented by significant investment into capability development. More recent R&D activity into cybersecurity techniques has built upon 14 years of risk-based engineering process development.

UNIFIED TESTING The centre enables HORIBA MIRA to provide a turnkey offering with a unified and holistic approach to automotive cybersecurity, functional safety and electromagnetic resilience, augmented with new connectivity test capabilities that include ‘real-world’ performance metrics for wired and wireless communications. I asked Anthony Martin, the Chief Engineer for EMC and

Head of Vehicle Resilience, what kind of impact could EMC have on other aspects of resilience, such as cybersecurity. According to Martin, vehicle resilience is a uniquely unified approach to functional safety, automotive cybersecurity and electromagnetic resilience and was developed because of the inextricable link between these three attributes. “Malicious attackers not only look for clear attack vectors,

they will also try to cause and make use of systematic faults that might ‘weaken’ systems. For example they may look to induce faults in vehicle systems in an attempt to create vulnerabilities or entry paths via other attack vectors,” he tells me. Concerning RFI, Martin says that EM interference can induce such systematic faults in vehicles and in some instances make them easier to penetrate. The engineering frameworks that HORIBA MIRA uses

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