Bangalore-based Spirent Communications offers a gamut of solutions for testing the transfer of information for various data communication-related technologies. The company’s solutions are based on four main methodologies – testing for conformance, performance, security & robustness and noise protection. Auto Tech Review recently spoke to Ravi Patil, Business Development Manager – Automotive, Spirent Communications (Above) as well as Matthias Montag, Business Development Manager, Spirent Communications (Below) and learnt that local customers are maturing with regards to seeking deployment scenarios with respect to automotive Ethernet within the car.
V2X & RELATED SECURITY
Spirent is developing solutions for V2X technologies with a few partners and is focusing on the adoption of such innovations in the local market, said Patil. He added that the V2X journey has become a reality over the years and the company is assisting global companies that are involved in shaping the vision of driverless cars. Connected cars have been attracting a lot of attention globally; it is evolving and will further gain importance in the future, said Montag.
Spirent has two products to help design and test vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and V2X communication services. The first is a conformance test suite for both the US and Europe. The second is a performance emulator solution that helps measure the application performance and security aspects of the V2X technology for multiple vehicle scenarios, and test high crash probability scenarios.
Spirent said connected vehicles need sensor information from multiple sources such as camera, radar, LIDAR and V2X communication to achieve situational awareness around a vehicle. All this data is then combined to create a safe autonomous driving experience across all conditions. OEMs and suppliers are integrating two-wire Ethernet into vehicles to address the increasing bandwidth needs for sensor fusion functions. There are currently security challenges for the controller area network (CAN), since it was never designed keeping security in mind. The introduction of an Ethernet network into the vehicle allows for more ability to control the security of a network by policing and gatewaying point-to-point ports, thereby limiting exposure to the entire vehicle architecture that exists in a multi-drop CAN network.
In addition, the high-level security challenges will continue to be prevalent in the future as radio frequency communications like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular are deployed widely. The recent Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) vulnerability is an example of how the industry has to be flexible to accept new firmware and operating system cryptos, since something that is secure today may not be tomorrow, noted Patil. A multi-layer security in depths is the approach needed in all critical control systems.
In order to address these security issues, Spirent has its SecurityLabs researches working with Fortune 500 companies around the world to design, validate, and educate customers about the advanced persistent threats of cyber security on critical assets, noted Patil. He said the company also offers products comprising the latest attacks libraries that customers can use to become security experts themselves and check their networks for past, present and future attacks.
Spirent has recently introduced its Noise Generator, which is an Ethernet product generally run in data centres. Patil said this device simulates different noise conditions onto the copper wire, since the wire is more susceptible to electromagnetic waves. The noise generator creates different types of engine noises and other disturbances, while monitoring how the end-devices that run these Ethernet stack process or break when corruption of packets take place. This device helps developers to check which data has been picked up correctly with the presence of noise, to provide right information to the end-device, he noted.
The noise generator goes to show that there is another aspect of securing safety in the network that is certainly important, said Montag. He explained that even if in theory everything is secured, there is still the task of addressing issues like electromagnetic noises. This is of utmost importance when it comes to connected vehicles, where network continuity is of the highest necessity for V2X communication. Spirent tries to address every aspect of security, which really starts with the conformance of the protocol to identify different ways in which a vehicle can be hacked, added Montag.
The complete ecosystem will need to adopt applications of automotive Ethernet connectivity over the next 4-5 years. It is imperative for the government along with the industry to evaluate and establish standards to bring up V2X solutions for safety, in addition to connectivity. In addition to offering products to test various standards, Spirent continues to emphasise that the focus of V2X needs to be as much about safety as it has traditionally been about connectivity. Spirent also feels that the standards and legislations should focus on the safety and security aspects associated with vehicle connectivity, while developing customised solutions that are relevant for various geographical regions.
TEXT: Naveen Arul