event coverage

Automotive Cybersecurity: The View from the US Department of Transportation

GM CEO Mary Barra introduced US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx for the final keynote.

Secretary Foxx began by saying that we're laying a new foundation for US transportation. It fits a coherent idea of how US infrastructure should evolve. He pointed out the level of distraction—that is, distraction of attention, whether driving, walking, or siting still—the Pokemon-GO app has introduced, and he took the opportunity to make a the sort of point about good driving one might hear in any driver's ed class. There is a serious point to this: unexpected developments, including changes in popular manias, can have unexpected security consequences.

As we grow more connected, what industry does to secure innovations will define success of technology. Foxx noted that the US infrastructure doesn't have the capacity to handle increased population and freight volumes as they're expected to increase over the next thirty years. So, for efficiency and safety, connected and autonomous technology will be backbone of this new infrastructure.

But these advancements bring with them a vulnerability to hacking. No one company can protect these new systems, and so success will depend upon collaboration. Foxx was pleased to see best practices like those released earlier in the week by Auto-ISAC, and he's equally pleased to announce that DoT has its own set of best practices forthcoming.

We have an opportunity to build-out cybersecurity for cars in a way we didn't have to build out automobile safety, he said, and he's excited by the prospects of advanced technology.

In response to a question about DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communications), he said that the Department of Transportation was studying spectrum-sharing with the Federal Communications Commission. But he insisted that any spectrum sharing must be done safely, and he wants the DSRC spectrum reserved until we know whether it can be safely shared. "Those who would auction DSRC spectrum have a heavy burden of proof to show that sharing won't endanger lives."