The company announced that its Security Credential Management System (SCMS) service will be free to automakers and public offices engaged in smart city and connected vehicle pilots.
Based on BlackBerry’s Certicom technology, the service was designed to provide a mechanism for vehicles and infrastructure to exchange information in a trustworthy and private manner using digital certificates. BlackBerry said that it offers a secure and reliable hosted Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) that is capable of managing certificates for one company or an entire ecosystem.
“In today’s hyper-connected world, every connected thing is a potential target that needs specialized protection from today’s growing cybersecurity threats,” said Mark Wilson, BlackBerry’s chief marketing officer. “At BlackBerry, we’re focused on securely connecting everything, whether it’s a car, an office environment or even an entire city. Today’s announcement underscores this commitment and builds on our leadership in an important and rapidly changing industry: transportation.”
During a news briefing, BlackBerry’s Jim Alfred spoke about the company’s goal to enable intelligent transportation systems. For example, traffic lights could alert cars when a light is about to change, preventing some of the traffic jams and/or driver dawdling that currently plagues mobility.
“This is about improving transportation and driver cooperation using connected vehicle technology,” said Alfred, who leads BlackBerry’s Certicom product group. “But I think the big picture is improving transportation systems and looking forward to autonomous transportation systems. A lot of that is smart vehicles with their own internal sensors. This is a way for those vehicles to communicate with other vehicles and the infrastructure to build up the information they need to drive securely and effectively on the nation’s highways.”
While communication will take place, not one particular vehicle or driver will learn the identity of another. “This technology is anonymous, so you’re not going to know it’s me,” Alfred added. “It can say, ‘I am a vehicle and I am coming down the road at this velocity, this direction. Other cars can listen to that message and think, ‘Uh oh, that message might indicate some danger.’ Then the receiving vehicle would process that signature and say, ‘I want to validate that signature coming from a trusted vehicle,’ and then react to it.”
Vehicles will pick up the messages intermittently, and while the information will remain anonymous, vehicles will be able to verify that the message is trustworthy before taking action. “These messages are coming directly through DSRC,” Alfred continued. “I don’t think there’s a real latency issue, especially for connected vehicle pilots using this information. It’s not direct sensor info like LiDAR – it’s more, ‘Hey, in 10, 20 seconds, something is going to happen.’”
And then it will be up to the driver – or the car’s ADAS or autonomous system – to respond. “They are not going to actively put the brakes on a vehicle,” Alfred explained. “They are going to alert the driver, so their active systems are only going to take over if you have collision avoidance in the vehicle. It’s going to be complementary to that.”
About the author:
Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking.