Transportation V2X Testing vs. Security

Which is more critical for V2X systems: testing or security?

John Blyler

February 3, 2021

5 Min Read
Adobe Stock, V2X

Cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) is an emerging generation of information and communications technologies. It was also a hot topic at this year’s CES 2021. It is a critical piece of the autonomous vehicle equation that will require comprehensive testing and cybersecurity detection before it is ready for the consumer market.

The global 5G testing equipment market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.8 percent from 2020 to 2027 to reach $3.23 billion by 2027, according to Grand View Research. Similarly, the global V2X cybersecurity market size is projected to grow from $659 million in 2020 to $2.8 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 33.5 percent, predicts Markets and Markets. The increasing trend of vehicles with V2X technologies and increasing cyber-attacks in the automotive industry will drive the market for V2X cybersecurity.

V2X is an acronym that encompasses many transportation communication types, such as relatively low-latency vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to (roadside) infrastructure (V2I), and vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) communications. V2X can be implemented with wireless or cellular systems, which is why the roll-out of the 5G communication infrastructure is so important.

For V2X to provide the safety and reliability needed for autonomous vehicles, it will have to provide a high-bandwidth, low latency, and highly reliable communications between a broad range of transport and traffic-related sensors. 5G mobile networks will be key to providing connectivity for V2V and V2I communications. The first commercial deployment of C-V2X direct communications based on LTE 3GPP Release 14 is scheduled to take place in China in 2021.

Related:What Does the Future Hold for Test?

In addition to existing and 5G for cellular communication, V2X technologies can use WLAN-based systems. The IEEE first published the specification of WLAN-based V2X (IEEE 802.11p) in 2010. It supports direct communication between vehicles (V2V) and between vehicles and infrastructure (V2I). This technology is referred to as Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC). DSRC uses the underlying radio communication provided by 802.11p.

Part of the V2X network will also rely on Wi-Fi and even Bluetooth communication protocols. All of these wireless systems make an especially tempting target for hackers. In addition to the normal testing to make sure that V2X systems communicate as per standards, developers will also need to test for potential cybersecurity threats.

Functional Systems Testing

Before V2X is ready for consumer use, developers must ensure the reliability and maturity of the technology. This means that rigorously testing and verification will be needed.

Field testing in the real-world will have to be complemented with simulation testing in the lab. The latter is also critical for testing in the development and introduction phase to verify compliance with the standards. Traditional communication protocol testers will have to be used with scenario simulation tools.

Typical simulation tests would include simulations for emergency electronic brake light, left turn assist (LTA), intersection movement assist (IMA), and congestion control testing. (Image Source: Rohde & Schwarz, V2X)

Test scenario examples with multiple simulated cars.

Cybersecurity Monitoring

V2X testing is required to ensure the safety and security of a vehicle. The V2X test is conducted to identify specification flaws, design issues, and possible implementation defects. But equally important is the modeling, analyzing, testing, and evaluating the security threats to V2X – both to protect the drivers and occupants as well as to prepare the vehicle security systems for future autonomous vehicles.

Potential V2X communication cybersecurity attacks can take place across both cellular and wireless networks implemented via WiFi, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), ZigBee, and DSRC systems. Typical attack types include:

  • Data tampering in transit or Man-in-the-Middle (MitM)

  • Data tampering at rest

  • Tampering of software functionalities

  • Denial of service (DoS)

  • Jamming (DoS) of communication channels

  • Jamming (DoS) of signals

  • Spoofing of signals

There are several ways to test for these attacks, but all require a security detector to sense un-approved devices and abnormal behavior in V2X communications. Such systems monitor RF signals (WiFi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, C-V2X, and DSRC) in order to detect abnormal behavior in the V2X environment to provide early warning to unexpected incidents.

At this year’s CES 2021, ArcRAN demonstrated a product called iSecV that provided monitoring and protection for the V2X environment. The monitoring software uses machine learning algorithms to help developers respond quickly to various cybersecurity threats and attacks. The core functions of these solutions included cybersecurity analysis, attack simulation, and risk evaluation.

Naturally, there are many other companies in the V2X cybersecurity space, for example, ESCRYPT, Green Hills Software, AutoCrypt, Autotalks, ObBoard Security, Harman, and Continental. These companies have multiple supply contracts with global OEMs as well as leading V2X providers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a delay in the launch of V2X equipped and related projects. According to Markets and Markets, the pandemic has resulted in a dip in the V2X cybersecurity market in 2020 as compared to 2019. The US, Germany, China, and the UK, which were the frontrunners in the developments of V2X and related technologies, are severely affected by the pandemic. This is not surprising as the pandemic has affected both the rollout of 5G infrastructure and chips for automotive makers. (Image Source: ArcRan, Youtube)

ArcRan’s iSecV provides visualization of vehicles.

John Blyler is a Design News senior editor, covering the electronics and advanced manufacturing spaces. With a BS in Engineering Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering, he has years of hardware-software-network systems experience as an editor and engineer within the advanced manufacturing, IoT and semiconductor industries. John has co-authored books related to system engineering and electronics for IEEE, Wiley, and Elsevier


About the Author(s)

John Blyler

John Blyler is a former Design News senior editor, covering the electronics and advanced manufacturing spaces. With a BS in Engineering Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering, he has years of hardware-software-network systems experience as an engineer and editor within the advanced manufacturing, IoT and semiconductor industries. John has co-authored books related to RF design, system engineering and electronics for IEEE, Wiley, and Elsevier. John currently serves as a standard’s editor for Accellera-IEEE. He has been an affiliate professor at Portland State Univ and a lecturer at UC-Irvine.

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