UK needs a Cyber Centre of Excellence for connected and autonomous vehicles

A new study has called for the setting up of a Cyber Centre of Excellence in the UK to govern the cyber security of connected and autonomous vehicles and to serve as the home for continued research and operational monitoring of cyber resilience.

ResiCAV project, a study carried out by a consortium led by Zenzic and Innovate UK and including the likes of Centre for Modelling & Simulation, Oxfordshire County Council, Aesin Techworks, the University of South Wales, the University of Bristol, Coventry University and the National Digital Exploitation Centre, has called for urgent steps to be taken to ensure connected and autonomous vehicles are secure prior to mass deployment.

The consortium has called for the setting up of a future Cyber Centre of Excellence to support the safe and secure deployment of connected and self-driving vehicles. The primary aims of the centre will be to monitor the operational security of connected and self-driving vehicles as they are deployed and to serve as a base for ongoing research and development around CAVs.

Mark Cracknell, Head of Technology at Zenzic, had detailed five key learnings from the newly released Cyber Resilience in Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) – Cyber Feasibility Report. These are:

1. The Cyber Centre of Excellence should be created to bring together experts from across industry and academia, acting as the UK hub for sharing knowledge and enhancing skills in cyber security and resilience.

2. CCE should act as a cluster or hub to existing capabilities and bring them together under a single umbrella, combining capabilities and doubling down on areas of UK strength.

3. CCE should develop the capability to monitor the operational security of connected and self-driving vehicles as they are deployed, enabling the ongoing assessment and assurance of the cyber resilience of the CAM “system” at scale.

4. CCE should be the base for fresh research around new and emergent threats and developing best practice in the design, implementation, monitoring and recovery of cyber security.

5. All methodologies should be drawn together into a single comprehensive framework. The UK will approach cyber resilience for CAM and subsequently identify priority gaps for further research and investment.

"It’s clear from the project findings that the successful deployment of connected and self-driving vehicles is hinged upon the prioritisation of investment in cyber security and digital resilience," said Cracknell.

"The projects have made a strong start by addressing key areas of how we can examine, monitor and research emerging and live threats to connected and self-driving vehicles, but more work is required. Together with CCAV and Innovate UK, Zenzic will be looking at future programmes to continue to address these topics and position the UK in a strong place of leadership by establishing The Cyber Centre of Excellence in the UK," he added.

“As the UK moves from CAV demonstrations to mass deployment, the need to protect these vehicles and associated infrastructure from potentially catastrophic cybersecurity failures cannot be overstated,” said Anthony Martin, head of vehicle resilience technologies at Horiba Mira to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

"Ultimately, ResiCAV’s findings have highlighted the absolute and urgent need for a collaborative, industry-led, government-backed cybersecurity programme, hence our next steps will be to secure funding for the development of the ‘UK Centre of Excellence for Road Transport Cybersecurity Resilience’.

"Developing a world-class cybersecurity capability of this nature will be critical in building trust in CAV technologies as they are deployed, supporting the integration of CAV technologies across the UK’s future transport network," he added.

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