Driverless Vehicles – Hack Proof? Safe for You and Your Family?29 Nov

SBIR CONSULTANT BULLETIN – See National Science Foundation SBIR Proposal Topic WT1 for Potential Bidding Opportunities

Based on an article written in March 29, 2015, “Last week, Tesla Motors unveiled another first for the auto industry: starting immediately, the company will be delivering upgrades directly to vehicles via the Internet

Tesla plans to distribute these upgrades over a period of months. “Unlike most of the auto industry’s upgrades, which are delivered to customers through an independent dealer network, Tesla is building on a sales and marketing philosophy that cuts out the middleman by sending the new software directly to its cars over their embedded wireless connections.”

However, Congress is concerned about the vulnerability of wirelessly transmitted up- grades. In 2015, “Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) sent a letter to 20 car manufacturers asking them about their vehicles’ reliance on wireless computing technology and, in turn, the vulnerability of their systems. In February, he published the companies’ replies, and they weren’t completely reassuring (the full report is here).

“Manufacturers that responded to the Senator’s inquiry gave mostly ambiguous answers about the cyber security of their products. Some said they encrypt information such as driving history and physical location, while others admitted that they don’t use encryption. The same is true for third-party testing of vehicle cyber security—some do it, but many do not.”

Note: “Tesla was one of three companies that chose not to respond to Sen. Markey’s questions.”

In the meantime, “The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, composed of 12 automakers, and the Association of Global Automakers, comprising 12 manufacturers and five suppliers, have developed a framework for automotive cyber security best practices.”

  • What has this Alliance achieved to date on driverless vehicle cyber security?
  • Who is responsible for checking these accomplishments?
  • Has anyone from this Alliance responded clearly to Senator Markey’s questions?
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About Dr. Everson

Prior to forming this SBIR consultant practice, Dr. Jeffrey Everson was director of business development for QinetiQ North America’s Technology Solutions Group (previously Foster-Miller, Inc.).

Dr. Everson has won and been the principal investigator for several SBIR programs, including a Phase I program for NASA, a Phase I project for the U.S. Air Force, and Phase I and II contracts from the U.S. Department of Transportation. For the Phase II program, he received a Tibbetts Award for exemplifying the best in SBIR achievement.

Previously Dr. Everson held senior scientist positions at Battelle Memorial Institute, The Analytic Sciences Corporation (TASC), Honeywell Electro Optics Systems Division, and Itek Optical Systems Division.

He holds a PhD in physics from Boston College and a MS/BS in physics from Northeastern University.


For more information about how JHEverson Consulting can help your company with its SBIR and STTR proposals, please contact Jeff Everson.

JHEverson Consulting is based in the Boston area but consults for clients throughout North America. It also is supported by affiliated consultants.