The challenging vision of autonomous driving

The vision “autonomous driving” describes an intelligent and connected vehicle that adapts dynamically to new tasks and situations. Vehicles increasingly communicate and perform driving operations autonomously and interact with roadside infrastructure (e.g. traffic lights) as well as with backends of car manufacturers, road operators and other mobility service providers. This connectivity creates an Automotive Cyber System (ACS).

Due to the high level of interconnectivity required, it is becoming increasingly important to protect ACS as an overall system against current and emerging cyber threats. An ACS, consisting of vehicles from different manufacturers, infrastructures, automotive and mobility services with a multitude of providers, is an extremely heterogeneous system. Therefore, to ensure cyber security and digital souvereignty, a cooperative and holistic approach is required that must allow different parties such as manufacturers, service providers, governments etc. to have controlled access to the vehicle, its infrastructure, functions and data along the entire ACS lifecycle. Until now, this has not been feasible due to high complexity, costs, data silos and the lack of transparency.

Opportunity for a collaborative solution

TRADETRustworthy Autonomous Driving by DEcentralized Authentication and Authorization” is the name and goal of the project which the participants hope to achieve utilizing IOTA Distributed Ledger Technology. Through decentralized identity TRADE seeks to address major concerns and demonstrates a holistic cybersecurity approach for the first time, with

  • interoperability across a heterogeneous provider landscape,
  • data souvereignty and transfer between network boundaries, and
  • efficiency and scalability,

for an open, yet controlled ACS ecosystem.

How we address the challenge

filancore is developing a management solution based on decentralized identities using IOTA that enables controlled access for relevant stakeholders in the automotive lifecycle. filancore aims to establish an ACS identity layer that works across companies and siloed ecosystems but also considers all relevant stakeholder requirements in a timely manner to create future-proof ACS, that simultaneously fulfills all relevant ACS lifecycle requirements for future-proofing autonomous driving.

This decentralized identity and access management solution for ACS will serve as the basis for various use cases such as confidential data transmission and access, firmware updates over the air, secure C2X communication and automation. filancore will deploy a new identity technology that uses both Decentralized Identifiers and Verifiable Credentials that enables use cases such as trusted authentication and authorization of cars, machines, sensors and infrastructure components required for a functioning autonomous environment.

The industry partner ETO GRUPPE is researching and developing a device control unit that is IOTA-enabled and can handle decentralized identity standards. This is of great importance for TRADE, as these components correspond to real automotive hardware and the resilience of the techniques as well as the interaction in the overall ACS system can be tested. In addition, this technology can be used to grant access and service only to desired third parties in the future, such as vehicle manufacturers or certified service dealers. This technology can also be used to prove that original hardware components are used and not counterfeit products.

In parallel, the Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt (THI) is researching important questions related to “Decentralized Web of Trust” scenarios and “Digital Sovereignty” in the context of a C2X ecosystem and how the veracity of an identity can be determined. Moreover, THI will use its automotive security expertise and its “Laboratory for Security in Mobility and Forensics of Alternative Drive Systems”, to conduct in-depth, practical security tests on the entire system to ensure that the system achieves the highest possible level of security and also provide evidence that such a system can bring more security to the vision of autonomous driving.

filancore, ETO GRUPPE and Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt are very pleased that the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research sees the potential and is funding TRADE. For the first time the project gives us the opportunity to deliver a holistic security approach for ACS on a scientific, practical and industrial basis. The results will enable us to demonstrate the added value of the technologies and approaches used in a measurable and comprehensible way in order to make the vision of autonomous driving secure throughout its lifecycle.