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Safety and Security on the Road to Automated Transport: The Good, the Uncertain and the Necessary


Increasing automation of road passenger and freight vehicles holds promise insofar as potential safety improvements and better traffic performance. Depending on the deployment model for highly automated vehicles, e.g. fleet-based or individually owned, wider impacts of automation may radically reshape transport demand or change the nature of existing demand. Though the potential is great, there are many unknowns that public authorities must manage. First among these is uncertainty regarding safety impacts and security vulnerabilities that may emerge during the deployment of more automated vehicles. If authorities and companies are caught short by unanticipated incidents during deployment phases for these technologies, public distrust may grow. Further, if these incidents are the result of inherent technology limitations or design flaws, any deployment of automation in transport may be held back, delaying the delivery of known benefits.

Safety and security issues will be the focus of this work, especially considering overall road network safety and system-wide security vulnerabilities that may come with more automated driving. This entails a discussion of how highly automated vehicles will interact with human-operated vehicles and at what level of adoption and integration societal impacts (roadway deaths, injuries, economic productivity, congestions and emissions, uptake by elderly and handicapped) will be measurable. One component of the work will investigate impacts of early-stage crashes and incidents on consumer sensitivity and vehicle adoption rates.  This work will extend beyond vehicles and vehicle systems but will also look at links to infrastructure in delivering better safety and improved security.

A second component of this work will investigate issues relating to security and privacy of the cyber-physical system of connected and highly automated vehicles. The project will look at ways of defining security-relevant system boundaries considering, for example, electronic control units, silicon hardware,  software, vehicle systems, infrastructure, cloud resources, etc. This work will describe measurable indicators for the security and privacy of each of the defined levels of the cyber-physical system and suggest future-proof and reliable minimum requirements for baseline values for these indicators for all levels, including e.g. encryption of data, authentication of user/device and messages, applicable to all forms of connected vehicles.