St John's Innovation Centre based technology company UltraSoC has secured £2m ($2.51m) in support from Innovate UK (the innovation agency of the UK Government), for an ambitious co-funded project that will improve the safety and security of tomorrow’s connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs). The project, a collaboration between UltraSoC, the Universities of Southampton and Coventry, and cybersecurity specialist consultancy Copper Horse, aims to improve the security and safety of citizens and infrastructure by developing the world’s first on-chip monitoring solution for CAVs.
The project is based on UltraSoC’s unique embedded analytics technology, which allows technology companies to design self-monitoring capabilities into the microchips that power their products. Machine Learning (ML) experts from the University of Southampton will work alongside UltraSoC engineers to develop algorithms and code to intelligently identify security and safety issues, while the Institute of Future Transport at Coventry University will develop a testbed demonstrator representing a full-scale automotive functional architecture to prove the resulting solutions. Finally, Copper Horse will model cybersecurity scenarios and test the robustness of the project’s output.
UltraSoC’s embedded analytics deploy dedicated hardware to identify security problems such as hacking far more quickly and reliably than traditional software techniques. The complexity of connected and autonomous automotive systems and their critical safety implications create a compelling need for such capabilities.
Aileen Ryan, UltraSoC’s Chief Strategy Officer, commented, “Cybersecurity and functional safety risks in these CAV applications are real. We are proud to have been recognized by Innovate UK for our ability to deliver safer and more secure systems for the automotive industry. We look forward to collaborating with our partners and consultants in following through to deliver an improved embedded infrastructure for connected and autonomous vehicles which will ultimately improve the safety of our citizens and infrastructure.”
Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. With a strong business focus, its aim is to drive productivity and economic growth by fostering new ideas and innovations. Since 2007, it has invested around £2.5bn to help businesses across the UK to innovate, with match funding from industrial partners taking the total value of projects to over £4.3bn.
About UltraSoC’s automotive embedded analytics technology
UltraSoC’s embedded analytics creates an independent monitoring infrastructure that can operate without interfering with the operation of the main system and, being hardware-based, responds much more quickly than conventional solutions. Unexpected or anomalous CPU transactions can be immediately flagged or blocked; faults or malicious attacks in sensor systems can be similarly detected. Developers can also implement ‘black box’ type forensic trace capabilities, logging on-chip activity and creating a digitally signed record that can be used to track the progression of a malicious attack, or determine legal liability.
For these reasons, UltraSoC’s technology and experience fits perfectly in safety-critical and security applications: providing greater insights and monitoring that allow automotive system developers to more easily satisfy the functional safety, risk assessment, testing, reporting and traceability requirements of standards such as ISO26262, IEC 61508, EN50126/8/9 and CE 402/2013, and facilitating the move to cybersecurity standards such as ISO21434 and SAE J3061.
UltraSoC’s recently-announced lockstep solution supports any processor type, and is specifically targeted at safety-critical applications such as those in automotive system design. The UltraSoC Lockstep Monitor is a hardware-based, scalable solution which significantly helps functional safety by checking that the processors at the heart of a critical system are operating reliably, safely and securely. Lockstep operation is needed for automotive safety standards such as ISO26262.