Innovative anti-hacking solutions for connected and automated vehicles.


Within the European project CARAMEL (Artificial Intelligence-based cybersecurity for connected and automated vehicles), framed in the Horizon 2020 programme, the i2CAT Foundation has led the implementation of a system of vehicle-to-vehicle and infrastructure communication protocols (V2X) following the standards of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The project’s main objective was to avoid potential cyberattacks on autonomous cars and, thus, improve the safety of the emerging intelligent mobility sector. 

Security and privacy in a connected environment

How does a connected car communicate with the rest of the infrastructure and other vehicles? It continuously sends radio frequency messages that contain information about its position, speed, or type of vehicle to guarantee safe autonomous driving. Within this framework, an attacker could send messages with false information to cause traffic accidents or affect the trajectory of vehicles.

In the context of CARAMEL, the i2CAT Foundation has developed an open-source software that authenticates the origin of the communication packets being transmitted between the different vehicle-infrastructure units (OBU’s and RSU’s) and allows detection and stopping of possible V2X message transmission attacks. An additional layer of privacy has also been incorporated, consisting of an artificial intelligence algorithm that changes the signature now and then to avoid malicious tracking of vehicles and protect users’ privacy.

Facilitating the development of V2X applications

How can this software work for you? Essentially, it will allow companies in the IT sector to develop different applications. For example, the location of the vehicle by GPS will allow, in the future, to eliminate toll control systems since the system can precisely calculate the vehicle’s trajectory and, therefore, request automatic payment on specific highways. i2CAT has already tested this solution in collaboration with the Catalan company Tecsidel.

Companies, city councils and organisations that want to try different use cases of communication between vehicles and infrastructure in real environments can do so thanks to the adaptability of the software developed by i2CAT, which can be customised to the client’s needs to carry out proof-of-concept tests.

Visualisation system designed by i2CAT

Within the framework of the CARAMEL project, i2CAT has also developed a backend/frontend system that allows displaying, from a centralised device (laptop or tablet), all the Local Dynamic Maps (LDMs) of the different OBUs. The interface aims at vehicle control centres to improve traffic management and decision-making on urban and interurban roads.

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