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Smart roads face cyber threat

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Intelligent transport is no longer a pipe dream with smart cars popping up all over the show. However, as technology advances, so too does the chance of cyber criminals to hack systems and cause chaos, writes ANVEE ALDERTON, Channel Manager, Trend Micro Southern Africa.

Smart cities are coming, and they are no longer a pipe dream or an idea for fiction anymore. With the speed of technological developments, and the greater connectivity globally, we may soon see smart cities everywhere.

We may not be seeing this right now in South Africa, however there will be a time when they will become part of our landscape. We are seeing more connected cars and autonomous vehicles appearing and being successfully adopted. With all these new developments, we are seeing the dawn of the Intelligent Transport System.

Intelligent vehicles need intelligent infrastructure. What this means is that there are a whole host of automated systems that need to be in place to help with traffic flow and making traffic easier to control and manage. This includes things like autonomous and connected vehicles, cameras, sensors, traffic monitoring, RFID and e-tickets, to name a few.

However, where there is technological advancement, there are also cyber criminals that are looking to benefit in some way through penetrating the security behind the system – which would not only cause possible chaos, but could lead to disastrous consequences. Threats can come from nation states, hacktivists, cyber terrorists or numerous other malicious actors.

The goals of cyber attacks can range from causing chaos or disruption, stealing information or to making money. We already see this with cameras being infected with ransomware and digital message boards being hacked.

The recently published Trend Micro report, Cyberattacks Against Intelligent Transportation Systems,  launches an in-depth investigation into what threats may be on the horizon. Because roads need to function safely – smart or not – it is vital to be aware of what can possibly happen when the entire transport system is digitised.

There are a number of factors that need to be taken into account, such as vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure and infrastructure-to-infrastructure functionality. This encompasses communications systems, threats to automated tolls, weather stations, speed sensors and a wide variety of other components that have a direct impact on the safety of the road user.

Governments, policy makers and IT security specialists all need to be aware of what is at stake when it comes to ITS. The IT industry is already involved in examining car hacking techniques, evaluating attack vectors and penetration on connected vehicles. As the hackers learn ways to get into the system, the security specialists are learning how to keep them out.

It’s not just the vehicles, though, that need to be taken into account: it’s the entire road and transport system. The Trend Micro report provides solutions for threats to ITS, like firewalls, anti-malware, network segmentation, vulnerability scanning and patch management.

We know that in order to create safe smart cities, we need to begin by assessing whatever challenges exist now, and head off any threats that we can. Securing the future starts today.

Cars

Porsche names e-car

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Series production of the first purely electric Porsche is set to begin next year. 

In preparation, the vehicle has now been given its official name: The “Mission E” concept study, the name currently used to describe Porsche’s complete electric offering, will be known as the Taycan. The name can be roughly translated as “lively young horse”, referencing the imagery at the heart of the Porsche crest, which has featured a leaping steed since 1952. 

“Our new electric sports car is strong and dependable; it’s a vehicle that can consistently cover long distances and that epitomises freedom”, says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. The oriental name also signifies the launch of the first electric sports car with the soul of a Porsche. Porsche announced the name for its first purely electric series as part of the “70 years of sports cars” ceremony.

Two permanently excited synchronous motors (PSM) with a system output of over 600 hp (440 kW) accelerate the electric sports car to 100 km/h in well under 3.5 seconds and to 200 km/h in under twelve seconds. This performance is in addition to a continuous power level that is unprecedented among electric vehicles: Multiple jump starts are possible in succession without loss of performance, and the vehicle’s maximum range is over 500 km in accordance with the NEDC.

Names with meaning 

At Porsche, the vehicle names generally have a concrete connection with the corresponding model and its characteristics: The name Boxster describes the combination of the boxer engine and roadster design; Cayenne denotes fieriness, the Cayman is incisive and agile, and the Panamera offers more than a standard Gran Turismo, which is what allowed it to win the Carrera Panamericana long-distance race. The name Macan is derived from the Indonesian word for tiger, with connotations of suppleness, power, fascination and dynamics.

Future investment doubled 

Porsche plans to invest more than six billion euro in electromobility by 2022, doubling the expenditure that the company had originally planned. Of the additional three billion euro, some 500 million euro will be used for the development of Taycan variants and derivatives, around one billion euro for electrification and hybridisation of the existing product range, several hundred million for the expansion of production sites, plus around 700 million euro for new technologies, charging infrastructure and smart mobility.

Extensive modifications at tHQ 

At the Porsche headquarters in Zuffenhausen, a new paint shop, dedicated assembly area for the Taycan and a conveyor bridge for transporting the painted bodies and drive units to the final assembly area are currently being constructed. The existing engine plant is being expanded to manufacture electric drives and the body shop will also be developed. Investment is also planned for the Weissach Development Centre. Production of the Taycan is creating around 1,200 new jobs in Zuffenhausen alone.

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Autonomous goes off-road

Jaguar Land Rover is developing autonomous cars capable of all-terrain, off-road driving in any weather condition. 

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The CORTEX project will take self-driving cars off-road, ensuring they are fully capable in any weather condition: dirt, rain, ice, snow or fog. As part of the project, a “5D” technique combining acoustic, video, radar, light detection and distance sensing (LiDAR) data live in real-time is being engineered. Access to this combined data improves the awareness of the environment the car is in. Machine-learning enables the self-driving car to behave in an increasingly sophisticated way, allowing it to handle any weather condition on any terrain.

“It’s important that we develop our self-driving vehicles with the same capability and performance customers expect from all Jaguars and Land Rovers,” said Chris Holmes, Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover.

“Self-driving is an inevitability for the automotive industry and ensuring that our autonomous offering is the most enjoyable, capable and safe is what drives us to explore the boundaries of innovation. CORTEX gives us the opportunity to work with some fantastic partners whose expertise will help us realise this vision in the near future.”

Jaguar Land Rover is developing fully- and semi-automated vehicle technologies, offering customers a choice of the level of automation, while maintaining an enjoyable and safe driving experience. This project forms part of the company’s vision to make the self-driving car viable in the widest range of real-life, on- and off-road driving environments and weather.

CORTEX will develop the technology through algorithm development, sensor optimisation and physical testing on off-road tracks in the UK. The University of Birmingham, with its world leading research in radar and sensing for autonomous platforms and Myrtle AI, machine learning experts, join the project. CORTEX was announced as part of Innovate UK’s third round of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Funding in March 2018.

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