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Telco develops cybersecurity blueprint for self-driving cars in the UK

O2 worked on the Government-funded BeARCAT project, which examined the cybersecurity vulnerabilities of connected and autonomous vehicles.

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Project BeARCAT took place at the UK's Millbrook Proving Ground
Project BeARCAT took place at the UK's Millbrook Proving Ground

The telecom company O2 has completed a project funded by Innovate UK, the UK Government-funded innovation agency, and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), to support the development of cybersecurity testing capabilities.

 

O2 provided access to its technical subject matter experts during the 12-week-long baselining, automation and response for CAV Testbed (BeARCAT) cybersecurity project, which aimed to generate valuable insights into the risks and challenges of the deployment of connected and automated mobility in public areas.

 

Partnership approach

 

O2 worked alongside a number of partners including technology company Cisco, Millbrook Proving Ground, and Warwick Manufacturing Group, the engineering, manufacturing, and technology department at the University of Warwick.

 

The company’s cybersecurity experts were responsible for determining the types of cyber-attack and attackers that pose a threat to CAV networks. Their investigation focused on developing models that could be used to classify, manage, and mitigate cybersecurity risks for intelligent transport systems, which will be vital for ensuring the safety and security of road users in the future.

 

“If connected and autonomous vehicles are going to become a permanent fixture in our day-to-day lives, it will be critical that governments and the public feel reassured that this technology is secure from cyberattacks,” said Brendan O’Reilly, chief technology officer, O2.

 

Cybersecurity experts explored the types of attacks that could threaten CAV networks
Cybersecurity experts explored the types of attacks that could threaten CAV networks

The project, which was led by Cisco and conceived at Millbrook Proving Ground, a leading vehicle testing facility in Bedford, ran from 1 January to 31 March 2020. As a feasibility study, recommendations were put forward by the consortium to Innovate UK to form the basis of a future cybersecurity CAV test facility, which outlined the design, development, and trialling of the outputs of the phase one study.

“If connected and autonomous vehicles are going to become a permanent fixture in our day-to-day lives, it will be critical that governments and the public feel reassured that this technology is secure from cyberattacks”

In September 2019, O2 announced that it would provide the connectivity for a new smart ambulance at Millbrook Proving Ground as part of a trial to revolutionise patient diagnosis and early treatment, meaning that visits to hospitals are minimised as well as providing an improvement in clinical outcomes.

 

BeARCAT is one of several projects in which Innovate UK and the CCAV have invested as part of their Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Cyber Security Feasibility Studies competition.

 

The competition falls under the government’s £100m CAM Testbed UK Fund, supporting the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, which was announced in 2017 to encourage and support extraordinary innovation in UK engineering and technology, making the UK a world leader within the transport industries.

 

Projects are testing and examining solutions to find ways to measure cyber-physical resilience and maintain cyber security for vehicles, roadside infrastructure and supporting services, provide input specifications for one or more new cyber test facilities, as well as explore opportunities to develop new cyber related services.

 

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