Vedecom Tech and Karamba Security have announced a project to demonstrate the viability of cyber-secure autonomous vehicles over the next two years. The two intend to have the vehicles operating within cities of France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and the Netherlands by late 2017, and introduce them to more countries in the following year. Unlike many other self-driving ventures, the goal of this collaboration does not appear to be creating vehicles or software that enable a car to drive itself down any given road and is instead centered around security.
Instead of taking a more traditional vehicle approach, the cars will be available for travel along specific routes and will drive in specified lanes, thus operating more like trollies than taxis. The first vehicles to hit the road will be those in Versaille, France, the two companies said, adding that those will be available primarily as a way for tourists to get around along approximately four miles of roadway. While cyber attacks are virtually unheard of in self-driving cars, the industry is looking to secure self-driving solutions in a preemptive manner. This joint venture seeks to showcase a series of vehicles intended for commercial use that is better protected against those kinds of attacks, whether those attacks come from external communications between multiple vehicles and the surrounding support infrastructure or from within the car itself. Cyber attacks can be a serious problem for any technology, but such attacks against road-going vehicles have a far greater chance of putting human lives at risk. The two companies seem eager to head that problem off as well as can be reasonably expected, while also providing a real-world demonstration for yet another business model that self-driving car companies can take.
It is still unknown what specific vehicles will be used in the partnership. Vedecom is a subsidiary of a European foundation that includes members such as Renault, Peugeot, and Valeo, but there is no guarantee that those automakers’ current vehicles will be part of the project or that the vehicles will be made by any of them. Another unknown is exactly what the security offered by the Israeli firm Karamba will entail. More information will likely become available as the timeframe for the project’s first implementation approaches.