BlackBerry Makes Autonomous Vehicle Play

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BlackBerry Makes Autonomous Vehicle Play

blackberry is staking an early claim to the smart city security market with the launch of a new system for self-driving vehicles

BlackBerry this week launched its new Security Credential Management System.

SCMS — a free service for the private and non-private sectors — might encourage efforts to develop autonomous and related automobile pilot packages.

Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry, which in recent times has pivoted from its previous enterprise constructed round cellular handsets, undertook improvement of this expertise to supply the crucial infrastructure for autos and site visitors lights to alternate info securely.

The service will see its first use at the side of Invest Ottawa, the place it will likely be utilized in a 16-kilometer automobile take a look at monitor that’s meant to resemble a miniature metropolis, full with pavement markings, site visitors lights, cease indicators and pedestrian crosswalks.

BlackBerry stated it should waive any service charges for this new product. The firm doubtless hopes to achieve the belief of automakers, in addition to native governments which can be concerned within the improvement of good metropolis infrastructure.

“Vehicles need to be able to securely communicate with other vehicles, infrastructure and a plethora of smart devices,” stated Mark Wilson, chief advertising and marketing officer at BlackBerry, throughout a press name on Monday.

The way forward for autonomous autos will depend on a related infrastructure that will even require safety, BlackBerry emphasised. Security is one space wherein the corporate has excelled, whilst its share of the cellular system market diminished.

“We’re focused on securing every connected thing, whether it is a car or an entire city,” added Wilson, “BlackBerry’s footprint in transportation has never been stronger.”

Secure V2V Communication

Security between autos will turn into more and more vital, as related autos use numerous functions to alternate info, based on the United States Department of Transportation, equivalent to details about roadway infrastructure, site visitors administration, and different information that onboard sensors cannot at all times detect.

SCMS, which is predicated on BlackBerry’s Certicom expertise, is designed to supply a safe and dependable hosted Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) that may handle certificates on behalf of a corporation and even a whole ecosystem.

The system is also designed to scale to be able to assist nationwide in addition to transnational deployments, BlackBerry stated, which might enable OEMs in addition to public officers to reap the benefits of what the corporate described as a turnkey cloud-based service for vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) certificates issuance and lifecycle administration.

“The future of autonomous vehicles cannot be realized until intelligent transportation systems are put in place,” stated BlackBerry CEO John Chen.

“By removing barriers such as security, privacy and cost, we believe our SCMS service will help accelerate the many smart city and connected vehicle pilot programs taking place around the world,” he added.

From Ottawa and Beyond

Through BlackBerry’s partnership with Invest Ottawa, the primary pilot program will happen within the aforementioned non-public AV take a look at monitor starting early subsequent 12 months.

The take a look at tracks will make the most of rising applied sciences, together with 5G networks, with present metropolis infrastructure — equivalent to site visitors lights and pedestrian walkways.

“Our integrated public and private AV test tracks are equipped with GPS, DSRC, WiFi, 4G/LTE and 5G, making this the first AV test environment of its kind in North America,” stated Kelly Daize, director of the CAV Program at Invest Ottawa.

“We look forward to leveraging the world-class security and analytic capabilities of BlackBerry,” Daize added, “and making them available to innovators, firms, and regions to accelerate the secure deployment of AVs, Intelligent Transportation Systems, and smart cities.”

From this primary pilot program, BlackBerry hopes to encourage different firms and communities to reap the benefits of the free SCMS service.

“What we’re doing today is expanding the market for connected vehicle pilots,” stated Jim Alfred, head of Certicom for BlackBerry.

The purpose is to encourage good cities, in addition to OEMs to work with BlackBerry, he added.

Security Demands

A related infrastructure might actually carry good cities and autonomous autos collectively and therefore improve security. However, safety would turn into much more vital, provided that any weak level within the system might open the door to hackers.

“Credentials are about security, not operation,” stated Rob Enderle, principal analyst on the Enderle Group.

“Once you connect up a smart city you can lower operating costs, lower traffic, provide better police protection through better dispatch — larger area fewer people — and generally make the citizens happier,” he advised TechNewsWorld.

“But if the system is vulnerable to hack, suddenly these advantages pale in the face of potential life-threatening risks, and traffic lights, utilities and police are disrupted — or, worse, turned into weapons,” Enderle added.

“The BlackBerry SCMS is designed to ensure the benefits of the former without incurring the risks of the latter,” he defined. “It is to make sure these systems are always used for rather than against us by a hostile outside entity.”

Smarter Cities or Cars

BlackBerry clearly goals to be an early pioneer within the improvement of back-end expertise associated to good cities, however provided that automobile deployment continues to be within the very early phases, and few communities have expressed curiosity in smartening up, is the corporate leaping the gun?

“There are differing perspectives on how soon we will see this infrastructure deployed,” stated Egil Juliussen, Ph.D., director of analysis at IHS Automotive Technology.

“There is no question that the connectivity between smart cities and vehicles would help, but so far we’ve seen that the automakers aren’t relying on the smart cities to be developed,” he advised TechNewsWorld. “However, at the same time the smart cities are still the most likely to be the first places where will see autonomous vehicles head to, as it will be easy to test and try out early versions.”

For these cause it does make sense for BlackBerry to get entangled with good cities presently.

“They want to be an important player in the space, and it is a shrewd move for them to offer this technology for free,” stated Juliussen. “It positions them well for volume when the time comes, and this will help them become established as a leading vendor.”

The Importance of Connectivity

Even if the automakers remained targeted on automobile sensors, machine studying, and AI to deal with the day by day grind of driving, the connectivity with good cities ought to assist autonomous autos come to fruition sooner.

“Now as far as the need for the vehicles to talk to the city as well as each other, this is necessary to optimize the system,” stated Enderle. “No matter how good the system in the car is, it’s limited by what it can see and operate — same as a human.”

In addition to creating driving safer, handing administration to a related community of methods additionally might cut back congestion on the roads.

“If it is networked, then the car becomes a component of the whole, and overall traffic can be rerouted dynamically and coupled with traffic light timing. Congestion can be massively reduced, and wait times at lights all but eliminated,” Enderle defined.

This method might be tailor-made to first responders, who might be directed accordingly, in order that police, fireplace and medical responsiveness could be elevated. The system additionally might be used to encompass and sluggish escaping criminals or terrorists.

“In other words, the cars could be used in concert to address issues,” stated Enderle. “For instance, say the city needed to evacuate an area quickly. Cars not in use in other parts of the city could be rerouted to the scene — with the prior approval of their owners — and coordinated electronically. That would optimize the evacuation, shifting lane use dynamically to maximize the speed of initial inbound help and then outbound escape, and safely overriding traffic speed laws for the duration of the problem.”

This understanding of what a related infrastructure might imply reinforces the significance of maintaining it safe. Hackers actually might carry cities to a standstill or worse!

BlackBerry’s Strong Backend

Just as BlackBerry established itself because the market chief for safe communications within the enterprise communications area, SCMS might fill an identical position. Given that there is not an Apple- or Google-powered system to displace it this time round, BlackBerry might stay dominant — except, after all, different firms launch competing expertise to safe the again finish within the V2X area.

“There is always some risk in that, but eventually the software will be able to move beyond platforms,” stated IHS Automotive Technology’s Juliussen. “With autonomous systems, cybersecurity is one of the toughest problems, so BlackBerry getting involved now shows that they have strong cybersecurity platforms.”


Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus embody cybersecurity, cellphones, shows, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous autos. He has written and edited for quite a few publications and web sites, together with Newsweek, Wired and FoxNews.com. Email Peter.



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