Applus+ Idiada and Coventry University collaborate on secure V2X platoons

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Barcelona-based automotive design company Applus+ Idiada will participate in a joint R&D project focusing on the engineering of safe and cybersecure vehicle platoons, working with the Centre for Future Transport and Cities at Coventry University.

As a platoon entails a group of driverless vehicles interconnected together, allowing them to operate as one unit or flock, analysis and research is required on the integrity of the platoon communications and overall vehicle resilience. The project will study where the vehicles in the platoon might be disrupted through malformed intervention.

In order to assess the robustness of the security, the communication between the vehicles and their resilience, the unit will be equipped with V2X communication technologies, enabling them to share collective information, and automated vehicle systems. The project said this will make it possible to form and drive the platoon itself. This will involve the use of two StreetDrone vehicles, which are both equipped with C-V2X capability for V2V communications.

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Testing equipment will be used to interfere and disrupt the platoon to replicate what a vehicle could expect on public roads. This involves a variety of advanced driver-assistance systems and communications testing equipment. A focus will be testing the connectivity and cybersecurity of vehicles in a controlled, safe and secure test environment.

Researchers will look at what could happen to a platoon in a real-world situation where the disruption and manipulation of the communications link could open opportunities for an attacker. This project will focus on an implementation of a platoon security demonstrator, as well as a testbed to disrupt the communications, to evaluate the robustness of the security for public road trials.

David Evans, connected vehicle and cybersecurity product coordinator at Idiada, has been awarded an industrial fellowship grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering to lead this R&D activity. Idiada will contribute by providing engineering support in the fields of safety and software, as well as its UK Connected & Automated Vehicle proving ground, CAVWAY, for vehicle connectivity and cybersecurity testing.

“This is an exciting opportunity to investigate the real-world safety and cybersecurity challenges platoons can expect on public roads and validate these scenarios in a safe, controlled and repeatable environment at CAVWAY,” said Evans.

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