IoT-TRaM Enabling More Secure and Private Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

As part of PETRAS’ IoT-TRaM project, researchers led by Professor Carsten Maple of the Cyber Security Centre at WMG, in collaboration with several industry and academic partners, are testing ground-breaking technology that will allow for more secure and private vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications. They will be testing this new technology on a number of national testbeds such as the A2/M2 Corridor Testbed. The project is generously supported by Lloyds Register Foundation with significant financial commitment from industrial partners.

Research lead Carsten Maple says “Connected and Autonomous Vehicles have the potential to bring significant economic and societal benefit to the UK.  However, it is vital that as these vehicles become an increasingly important part of the UK’s critical national infrastructure, that systems are secure, resilient and respect privacy appropriately.  This project will take some of the leading innovations in PETRAS and apply them to real-world testbeds rapidly increasing the impact of academic work.  The partnership between universities, government and industry is instrumental to driving forward this transformative project “

Connected vehicles can communicate using a range of protocols and technologies including dedicated short range communication (DSRC). Using such technology involves two important challenges. Firstly, the vehicle needs to verify that the sender is who they say they are, that is affirm their identity. Secondly, the vehicle needs to handle a large number of messages that need to be processed in a short period of time.

Currently Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is used which requires vehicles to frequently communicate with the cloud to read messages and/or verify vehicle identities.

The technology the team is working on is an alternative form of managing vehicle identities which uses distributed ledgers. Existing technology stores the identifiers in the cloud and must refer to this database each time a vehicle needs to be identified. Through the use of distributed ledgers stored in nearby road infrastructure, the team will be able to reduce communication with the cloud, consequently ensuring a faster message verification process.

Matthew Bradbury a postdoctoral researcher working on the project says “Testing security and privacy protocols for connected vehicles is vitally important. Much of this testing has so far been performed via simulation. In order to ensure that academic innovations are feasible to deploy in real life scenarios, it is crucial that we perform testing on hardware at UK national infrastructure sites in realistic environments.”

Other innovations are also planned to be tested on the Smart Mobility Living Labs led by TRL, Midlands Future Mobility testbed at the University of Warwick, and the 5G Innovation Centre at Surrey.

If you would like to learn more about this project, please contact Dr Matthew Bradbury at M.Bradbury@warwick.ac.uk