How To Deal with Data Security

How To Deal with Data Security

Data security is so important because it is closely linked to liability for system failures. “This is a multi-faceted issue,” says Giovanni Balli, director/consultant in the Brussels office of AutoGlobal Business Network, an automotive/ITSR&Dconsultancy.“It involves both user data and data contained within the embeddedsystems on the vehicle.” Balli points out that assigning liability whena system fails gets complicated if onboard vehicle systems—particularlyanything affecting safety—are modified or controlled by anotheroff-board system.

“Automakers are very concerned and nervous,” says Alan Williams, a director/consultant with AutoGlobal in the U.K.,“which is why we see a proliferation of onboard systems, such ascollision mitigation and lane keeping technologies, being developed andoffered. But the more integrated systems, such as speed adaptation,need a well-developed and tested framework to ensure reliability androbustness.”

Morethan 10 million in-vehicle systems worldwide run QNX Software Systemstechnology, on a variety of vehicle platforms from several differentmanufacturers. According to Andy Gryc, QNX’s senior automotive marketing manager, automotive OEMs are notnecessarily interested in having a completely open environment fordownloading information and applications. OEMs and tier ones arelooking for the best ways to enable users to safely download newsoftware and to protect the onboard unit when they do. “We are doingwhat we can from a technology standpoint to enable them to solve thoseproblems,” Gryc says.

The ability to add applications on a dynamic basis is one challenge QNXmeets by providing an application store in its QNX CAR platform andaddressing the operating system (OS) requirements. This allowsautomakers to run a downloaded application so it is isolated from therest of the code, thus ensuring safety. “If you’ve got other featuresin the vehicle that are dependent on accessing the vehicle bus orcertain horsepower requirements for the CPU—like voice recognition, forexample—you don’t want those things to suffer if you start downloadingsome kind of [software] component, even if it has been well tested,”Gryc explains.

QNX also allows OEMs todetermine how much overhead or headroom to reserve for a CPU, memory,or other limited resource. The company’s ‘active partitioning’technology lets designers partition off a certain percentage of theCPU. By reserving critical capacity, and then fully testing the systemat the lesser capacity, the OEM can be confident that when usersdownload information or applications they won’t interfere with othervehicle systems.

Another QNX approachinvolves an HMI framework that allows the safe downloading ofcomponents built using Adobe Flash. OEMs can leverage Adobeapplications and not “really have to worry about impacting thevehicle,” Gryc says, “because it is running in the Flash environmentand is completely isolated from the rest of the system,” says Gryc.

Randy Frank is a contributing editor at Telematics Update.

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