EV/AV Report: Advancing autonomy while solidifying cybersecurity

Toronto, Ontario — The University of Windsor partners with a national telecomms provider to spearhead development in autonomous vehicle (AV) connectivity, the director of the FBI warns about the potential use of AVs by terrorists and a Japanese town begins large-scale testing for Level 4 autonomous vehicles. This is the latest in electric and autonomous vehicles.

Interconnected design
The University of Windsor and TELUS have announced the launch of a 5G connected campus along with a $5 million investment into the university, allowing for more intense research into the potential deployment of AVs in the real world.

In addition to the development of the 5G commercial lab, the university will work with OEMs, policy makers and the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) to create connected vehicles capable of cross-border travel, a feat largely enabled by the data speeds of 5G connections.

The university is also partnering with national research organization, Mitacs to explore potential vulnerabilities in connected autonomous vehicles—a fact that many security specialists have taken note of.

Self-steer to danger
A U.S. national security expert who spoke at the World Economic Forum warned that the expanded use of autonomous vehicles may represent a new way for terrorists to harm Americans—or anyone near an AV, for that matter.

According to FBI director Christopher Wray, one key threat is the possibility of interfering with the AV’s algorithms, citing a case study in 2020 where researchers placed black tape over a sign which caused a 2016 Tesla Model S and Model X to accelerate to “50 miles an hour, or something.”

While Tesla has since shifted to a different AV software developer and taken steps to improve its frequently criticized autonomous driving systems, this case serves to highlight the vulnerability of AVs at large, rather than a jab at the EV company.

Temples and Tech
A small town known for its ancient Buddhist temples will soon be known for becoming the world’s first Level 4 AV town, with operations set to begin as early as April.

According to Japan Today, the town of Eiheiji in Fukui Prefecture has been using Level 3 public transportation since March 2021, including vehicles that are self-sufficient outside of emergency situations.

The jump to Level 4 vehicles expands the number of designated areas which AVs can operate, and serves as a testing ground for the government of Japan who are planning to establish over 40 Level 4 automated transit services by 2025.


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