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.
LHI is coming to save your car from hazards
Local Hazard Information will give drivers advance warning of potential dangers lurking around the corner
There are many times when knowing what is around the corner could be useful. But for drivers that knowledge could be critical. Now, thanks to Ford’s new connected car technology, it is also a reality.
Local Hazard Information (LHI) marks a significant step on the journey towards a connected transport infrastructure by helping drivers prepare for and potentially avoid dangers on the road. When drivers ahead encounter sudden tailbacks, accidents or spilled loads, the driver behind – and possibly out of sight – is given advance warning. This could also apply to everything from freak hailstorms, to sudden flooding, or even landslides.
The triggers for the system come from what is happening in the cars ahead. It could be that airbags have been activated, hazard warning lights are flashing, or windscreen wipers are in operation. Previous traffic incident alert systems have relied on drivers to input information in order to generate alerts. LHI works autonomously, without the need for any driver interaction, to generate information and issue warnings.
Hazards are only displayed – via the dashboard display – if the incident is likely to impact on the driver’s journey. LHI is designed to be more beneficial to drivers than hazard information from current radio broadcasting systems, which often deliver notifications not relevant to them.
Already featuring as standard and free of charge for the first year on the new Ford Puma, LHI technology is being rolled out across more than 80 per cent of Ford’s passenger vehicle line-up by the end of this year. Crucially, the benefit will not be limited only to those travelling in Ford vehicles. Information sent can be used to alert drivers of other manufacturers’ vehicles, and vice-versa.
“What makes Local Hazard Information different is that it is the cars that are connected – via the Internet of Things. There is no reliance on third party apps. This is a significant step forward. Warnings are specific, relevant and tailored to try to help improve your specific journey.” Joerg Beyer, executive director, Engineering, Ford of Europe
How it works
Sensors monitor activities including emergency braking, fog lights and traction control to detect adverse weather or road conditions. Data from these activities is then computed to determine the hazard location and whether a traffic incident has occurred.
The vehicle automatically provides updates through a secure connection to “the cloud” using the Ford Pass Connect modem. Ford’s technology partner HERE Technologies operates the central cloud-based platform that collates information from multiple vehicle brands, governed by a business-to-business agreement.
The more cars are connected to the network, the greater the efficiency of the system. When many vehicles generate the same warning, others in the vicinity receive incident information from the cloud via the cellular network, enabling drivers to reduce speed or take appropriate action.
Additional information is sourced from public authority incident databases and traffic reports to provide drivers with further advance warnings including approaching vehicles driving on the wrong side of the carriageway, animals or people in the road ahead, and roadworks.
The on-board modem will be connected at the time of vehicle delivery. Customers may choose to opt in/opt out of certain data sharing.
Local Hazard Information data provided by HERE Technologies.
SA gets live EV charge map
Drivers of fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles can now plan their journeys with ease using a live map to locate available public charging stations nationwide.
The live map displays the entire network of Jaguar Powerway and GridCars supported public charging stations, and indicates the current status of each including if it’s online, offline or in use. The map also shows the time and date of the station’s last successful use, as well as a tally of that particular station’s total charge sessions to date.
Information about each charge station’s exact location with either map pin drops or GPS coordinates is also available.
Brian Hastie, Network Development Director, Jaguar Land Rover South Africa, says: “While the primary charging habit for the majority of EV drivers will be at home where it’s most convenient and cost-effective, we know that the future of electric mobility ultimately relies on a public charging network. As the rollout of public charging stations intensifies and the dots between existing locations are connected, it’s vital that EV drivers are able to view the status of chargers remotely. This live map makes that possible.”
Jaguar South Africa began the rollout of its Powerway network of public charging stations late in 2018. The Powerway includes public charging stations along frequently traveled holiday routes along the N1, N2 and N3, and at various points of convenience, such as shopping centres, in the country’s major hubs including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Bloemfontein.
The Powerway network also includes publicly available chargers in customer parking areas at every Jaguar Land Rover retailer in South Africa.
The majority of charging stations on the network are 60kWh fast chargers which also feature 22kWh AC fast charge ports to accommodate plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). The AC standard Type 2 socket will allow charging of all EVs currently available in South Africa, while the DC charger is fitted with the CCS DC type socket used by the vast majority of EVs in SA.
The R30-million Jaguar Powerway investment, combined with the network of GridCars-supported public chargers, makes day-to-day travel as well as longer day trips and even very long journeys possible for owners of electric vehicles.