“How to Prevent a Car Accident?”: Russian Scientists Are Developing an Information Security System for Automobiles

Scientists at South Ural State University are developing an information security system for automobiles. The system will allow preventing car accidents by distributing data incoming with various streams of information by their level of importance, and avoiding unfair competition among car manufacturers.

A car will analyze all data by the level of importance

There are about 80 electronic control units and a number of network platforms targeted at prevention of car accidents operating in modern vehicles. They include telematics modules, or platforms, which collect data about the car and transmit them to servers of the car manufacturer or a vehicle park. These models are necessary to perform monitoring of the car condition and carry out exchange with the state regulatory services for control over special types of transportations, and exchange of information between vehicles while driving in a convoy. Besides, the allow a driver to get information regarding his location and the meaning of signals of road signs and traffic lights.

Regarding the fact that there is a big number of information streams operating in a vehicle, there is a necessity to elaborate an integrated system to control them. Presently, research staff of the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at South Ural State University (Chelyabinsk) are working on development of such a system.

“Arrangement of a modern car is quite complex, even if we are not to speak of autopilot driving but of a semi-autonomous vehicle. It is equipped with more than 60 driver-assistance systems which perform diagnostics and monitoring of the car condition. Information systems provide the driver with this data as well as with some data regarding the elements of road infrastructure and other vehicles located nearby. The received information should be sorted out by the level of importance: for example, if the first car in a convoy started braking because of some obstacle, the information about this emergency braking is more crucial compared to any other information. Therefore, there arise the necessity to determine certain requirement for information security applicable for various information streams,” says Director of the SUSU Nanotechnology Research and Education Centre, Andrey Barinov.

Layout of a connected car’s network topology

A car will be able to get upgraded online

Requirements to information streams can be the following: integrity and availability of data, protection of a signal, isolation of communication systems from each other in case of hacking one of them. For example, information transmitted to the emergency call services in emergency situations as well as information transmitted to the passenger transportation control is characterized by stricter requirements regarding its availability and integrity. Ensuring confidentiality is very important for the information regarding cargo routes as safe transportation of cargo by vehicles is crucial. If an intruder for the access to the multimedia system of a car, he can get access to driving as well. In other words, any information should undergo a checkup for protection against intruders while driving.

When processing the whole complex of data, information system of a vehicle does more than just providing security of a driver and pedestrians. Its objectives also include monitoring of the vehicle’s condition and transmitting the corresponding data to the car manufacturer’s server. Possessing the up-to-date information about the vehicle, the car manufacturer can detect unauthorized intrusion into automobile’s systems online or perform an update of the software in electronic units.

Presently, the scientists are working on development of methods for automatic classification of information. Each class of information will correspond with a certain policy: priority of processing, requirements regarding reservation, availability, integrity and coding will be determined. It is nowadays already that the project of South Ural State University scientists excited interest among the largest domestic car manufacturers which carry out supply of both light motor vehicles and load-carrying vehicles.

Viktoria Matveychuk; photos by: Viktoria Matveychuk, collection of A.Barinov
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