Applus+ IDIADA and Coventry University collaborate on engineering safe and secure V2X vehicle platoons


    Applus+ IDIADA is pleased to announce that our division in the UK will participate in a joint R&D project with the Centre for Future Transport and Cities at Coventry University, which will focus on the engineering of safe and cybersecure vehicle platoons.

    David Evans, Connected Vehicle & Cybersecurity Product Coordinator at IDIADA, has been awarded an industrial fellowship grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering to lead this R&D activity, in which IDIADA will contribute by providing engineering support in the fields of safety and software, as well as access to its UK Connected & Automated Vehicle proving ground, CAVWAY, for vehicle connectivity and cybersecurity testing.


    What is a platoon?

    A platoon entails a group of driverless vehicles interconnected together, allowing them to operate as one unit or flock.  Some of the main benefits of platooning are the capacity to accelerate and brake simultaneously without the need for human intervention, nor keeping a safety distance between vehicles. Vehicle platooning will also increase road capacity and help reduce road congestion, resulting in an improvement of traffic safety and overall fuel economy. However, before being deployed on public roads, research, and multiple tests of the technologies and software that make platooning possible need to be undertaken.


    Challenges for vehicle platoons

    While the economic benefits are clear, for this use case to be realised and safely deployed on public roads, significant analysis and research is required on the integrity of the platoon communications and overall vehicle resilience where the vehicles in the platoon might be disrupted through malformed intervention. In order to assess the robustness of the security, the communication between the vehicles and their resilience, the unit will be equipped with vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication technologies, enabling them to share collective information, and automated vehicle systems, which make it possible to form and drive the platoon itself. This will involve the use of two StreetDrone Vehicles, which are both equipped with Cellular V2X (C-V2X) capability for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications.


    Testing in a controlled, safe, and secure environment

    Prior to public road trials, the resilience of these platoons will be validated in a controlled, safe and secure test environment at CAVWAY, IDIADA’s connected proving ground near Oxford, in the UK.  State-of-the-art testing equipment will be used to interfere and disrupt the platoon to replicate what a vehicle could expect on public roads. This involves a variety of ADAS and communications testing equipment. A significant focus of the tests conducted at the CAVWAY facilities will be testing the connectivity and cybersecurity of vehicles in a controlled, safe and secure test environment.

    The principal focus of this research is on what could happen to a platoon in a real-world situation where the disruption and manipulation of the communications link could open opportunities for an attack. This project will focus on an implementation of a platoon security demonstrator, as well as a testbed to disrupt the communications, to evaluate the robustness of the security for public road trials.

    “I am very happy to have been awarded this opportunity by the Royal Academy of Engineering and develop this activity with the Centre for Future Transport and Cities at Coventry University. This is an exciting opportunity to investigate the real-world safety and cybersecurity challenges platoons can expect on public roads and validate these scenarios in a safe, controlled and repeatable environment at CAVWAY.” - David Evans, Connected Vehicle / Cybersecurity Product Coordinator at IDIADA.

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