Airbus Defence and Space joins partnership to address cyber security risks in intelligent transportation

Transportation is becoming ever more autonomous and connected, with new services and the promise of improved safety.

However, this “hyperconnection” means that new digital threats are emerging, potentially affecting the safe operation of vehicles and user privacy.

A new European partnership announced last week aims to address these threats — such as onboard system intrusion, data theft and jamming of communications — in the intelligent transportation field.

Airbus Defence and Space said that it will cooperate with IRT SystemX, a technological research institute for the digital engineering of future systems, and eight companies in the rail, automotive and aviation industries.

The partners intend to share the most innovative cyber security solutions (e.g. secure architectures and discrepancy and intrusion detection systems) applied to intelligent transportation systems to help protect the onboard electronic equipment of autonomous vehicles against cyber threats.

“With users taking advantage of vehicle interconnection and infrastructure, safety/security convergence is clearly of considerable importance and should be established at all levels in the value chain,” explained François Lavaste, head of CyberSecurity at Airbus Defence and Space. “The transportation industry will also benefit from these innovations, whether it be to optimise the production chain, manage vehicle fleets or carry out predictive maintenance.”

Paul Labrogère, head of IRT SystemX’s Autonomous Transportation Programme, added: “The range of attacks on future intelligent transportation, for example the car, which is becoming ever more connected, is increasingly extended by the hyperconnection of the electronic objects they comprise: diagnostic connectors, protocols open to the internet, entertainment, electronic control units for vital functions, remote warning systems, connected surveillance systems and poorly protected keys.”

The four-year partnership agreement will focus on three research and development areas:

  1. ‘Security by design’, which relates to the remote upgrading of the capabilities of all interconnected equipment and is implemented from the design stage of onboard electronic architectures.
  1. The ‘real time security’ of system operational management which includes access control, security supervision and security support.
  1. Regulatory and human factors, including ergonomics and certification methods.

Sign up to our newsletter

Meet our experts