Cars are getting more connected, and autonomous driving is becoming a more definite reality.
Now car manufacturers are facing the challenge of how they can trust the information that is received by each vehicle.
In this perspective, V2X communication will be a critical factor in the success of autonomous cars.
Let's jump right in.
What is V2X?
'Vehicle-to-Everything' also known as V2X, refers to the passing of information from a vehicle to any entity that may affect the vehicle, and vice versa.
- V2I or 'Vehicle-to-Infrastructure' which is the exchange of data between a car and equipment installed alongside roads and that is generally called a 'roadside unit' (RSU). V2I can be typically used to broadcast traffic conditions and emergency information to drivers.
- V2V or 'Vehicle-to-Vehicle' relates to the transfer of data between vehicles. Compared to what sensors can provide to the vehicle, information transmitted via V2V technology can come from cars a few hundred meters ahead or even hidden cars from behind trucks or buildings.
Standardized V2X communication
The automotive industry has worked with regulatory bodies to standardize V2X communication. The objective was to ensure all stakeholders can manage interoperability between vehicle brands and with the road infrastructure to get standardized messages.
In most countries, governments consider V2X as a critical technology to reduce road fatalities. They are pushing the industry to shorten the deployment schedule for the technology.
For car manufacturers, V2X, and more specifically V2V, is a milestone in the path towards fully autonomous cars.
Besides, the challenge of choosing the optimum communication bearer (DSRC aka Dedicated Short Range Communications, C-V2X or hybrid), which keeps the industry and the mobile community very active, the security of V2X communication is also a key topic.
Regulators have pointed out the need to protect the messages against fraudulent or misleading use.
They request the user's privacy to be protected and preserved so the journey of drivers cannot be easily tracked or reconstructed by listening and compiling all messages a car sent and received in a period of time.
Public Key Infrastructure to secure V2X
The principle of V2X communication security is based on signed messages using Public Key Certificates.
In Europe and the US, ETSI ITS and IEEE have both respectively defined PKI architectures to secure all V2V and V2I communications.
For privacy protection purposes certificates have a reasonably limited validity period and need to be changed regularly.
Optimize certificate issuance and management
As car manufacturers are working to prepare their vehicles to comply with V2X standards, they are working on new ECUs (Electronic Control Units) that manage all the communication flow as well as fetching certificates that are required to sign messages they broadcast.
OEMs concentrate on building the V2X ECU, the backend system that is required to run the PKI infrastructure and generate certificates for their cars.
This situation has two significant challenges:
- First, the certificate structure defined by ETSI-ITS and IEEE is particular to the V2X use case and requires an entirely new development. Most of the existing PKI bricks cannot be reused.
- Second, because of the high frequency of certificate renewals for every vehicle, the quantity and availability of the certificate generation become a strong constraint when building the service. With the growing number of V2X ready vehicles coming on the roads, the number of certificate fetching requests to the store will grow exponentially.
Benefit from Thales V2X Cloud Services
With more than 15 PKI projects deployed and live, Thales has a strong experience in providing PKI infrastructures to its customers.
Thales also has deep expertise in developing secure services and operating large scale systems that address hundreds of millions of users.
Thanks to this unique position, Thales is developing V2X certificate services that combine state-of-the-art technologies for optimum scalability, advanced cryptographic expertise and its unique HSM products.
As V2X standards have just been released and the V2X ecosystem is still very new, Thales is working in agile mode to be as close as possible to OEMs requirements and be able to adapt and pivot as needed.
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