‘Mapping the Road to Cyber-Secure Self-Driving Vehicles’, a Meridian-led event, took place at WMG, Warwick University in Coventry on Tuesday 5 February. The event explored one of the increasingly prevalent issues for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs), cyber security, and provided an opportunity for those across the sector to share ideas as well as contribute towards the shaping of the industry’s future.

The appetite for collaboration was palpable as representatives spanning a wide range of disciplines across multiple sectors were keen to offer expertise while being open to other leading UK perspectives. Looking confidently towards 2030 was certainly bolstered by the cooperative ethos on show.

Cyber security across industries

After a brief introduction by Meridian’s Richard Porter, Phillip White from Costain drew attention to the ever-increasing requirement on hyper-connectivity, interweaving technology, people and processes, as CAV technologies mature. The implications of this were then homed in on by Peter Davies from Thales, highlighting the imperative reform of vehicular techniques in strengthening resilience and survivability to mitigate against systematic failure.

Presentations from Prof. Carsten Maple (WMG), Dr. Wolfgang Schuster (Atkins) and Paul Wooderson (Horiba-MIRA), outlined the achievements of the UK Cite, Flourish and 5StarS projects respectively. Their findings drew attention to the requisite emphasis on security and resilience in CAVs as user trust and assurance becomes a fundamental part of not only cyber-secure communications but acceptance of CAVs themselves.

Perspectives were then shared from the telecommunications and legal sectors, given by Ian Smith (GSMA) and Chris Jackson (Burges Salmon) respectively. These were both pertinent in highlighting the wide industrial impact CAV cyber security poses as well as the crucial need to collaborate and share information well beyond the conventional sector silos. Trust was also repeatedly emphasised.

The Roadmap to 2030

The afternoon saw Meridian’s Head of Technology, Mark Cracknell, introduce the ‘UK CAV Roadmap to 2030’, which maps out a tactical path to deliver a safe and sustainable CAV sector. Taking a combined thematic outlook, it aims to comprise the totality of the UK CAV ecosystem and understand its interdependencies. Participants were asked to give their views on what cyber security issues were most pressing in the next three years, and over the next decade leading to 2030.

A collective recognition of the complexity of CAV cyber security, far greater than any one sector, was expressed. This was accompanied by a resounding consensus on the need to collaborate and talk a common language to solve problems in this space. The need for clear definitions in mutual trust and CAV business models to enable effective CAV development and further deployment was voiced. Experts were also concerned keen that an emphasis be placed on resilient and survivable systems as well as evolution of legal practices.

Collaboration, resilience and trust were the main threads of the day. It was clear the UK has a wealth of high-quality R&D to tackle the challenges of CAV cyber security. If this can be harnessed toward a common vision of the CAV ecosystem, the UK can place its stake firmly in the ground as a world leading force in the sector. The resulting reputation as a nation which is technologically forthright and ‘doors open’ in this space will be of prime importance in harnessing national and international interest as well as investment.

Look out for updates on the roadmap workshop series and the UK CAV Roadmap to 2030 on LinkedIn, Twitter and in newsletters. 

Tristan Bacon, Technology Team