Chip and software firms team up to develop secure connected-car apps

14-06-2016 |   |  By Paul Whytock

Automotive embedded systems specialist ETAS and embedded software security company ESCRYPT have teamed up with power semiconductor company STMicroelectronics in a development project focussing on secure connected car applications.

Automotive engineers increasingly rely on electronic control units (ECUs) to enable and manage car features like brake-by-wire, automatic transmission, multi-mode lighting, parking assist, collision avoidance and others.

The ECU provides control of these functions via commands issued over the car’s communication network.

In addition to those automotive functions more vehicles are becoming connected to server clouds and this is providing additional in-car facilities like Over-The-Air (OTA) software updates, remote diagnostics and the forthcoming Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication that will allow vehicles to communicate with road infrastructures and other vehicles.

To safely support these sort of technological developments hard and software security platforms that are managed over the entire vehicle lifetime are necessary says the companies. ST, ETAS and ESCRYPT plan to deliver a cost-effective platform for sub-system developers to create ECUs that ensure a high level of protection for vehicle-owners’ privacy.

The solution the companies are working on uses the SPC58 series of power-efficient and real-time-capable automotive microcontrollers, which feature an integral Hardware Security Module (HSM) as well as multiple CAN FD interfaces, plus LIN, FlexRay, and Ethernet with time-stamping to implement both control units with a functional integrity check and an in-vehicle network with encrypted communication.

ST says this approach expands the company’s offering for connected-car defence, which also includes Secure Elements, or embedded SIMs (Subscriber Identity Modules), for protection against Internet-based attacks on ECUs and gateways that can steal personal data or compromise important vehicle systems.

ESCRYPT is contributing its expertise in secure ECU communication, including distribution of OTA software updates, and provides firmware and middleware for ECU developers to use the SPC58 HSM. Together, the HSM and ESCRYPT’s security technologies handle all the necessary authentication of trusted sources and prevention of unauthorised access by agents.

The solution will also use ETAS’ RTA software that supports ECU code development. RTA-BSW (Basic Software) consists of a full AUTOSAR solution including AUTOSAR R4-compliant software capable of supporting safety critical ECUs for both passenger cars (ISO 26262) and off-highway (ISO 25119) domain users.


By Paul Whytock

Paul Whytock is European Editor for Electropages. He has reported extensively on the electronics industry in Europe, the United States and the Far East for over twenty years. Prior to entering journalism he worked as a design engineer with Ford Motor Company at locations in England, Germany, Holland and Belgium.

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