Cyber Security in a Transport Revolution

 
Andrew Everett

The transport industry is undergoing a technological revolution driven by connectivity, Big Data, autonomy and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Driverless cars are on the horizon and the Internet of Things is being developed throughout our current transport infrastructure. However, these technologies pose some significant issues, particularly in the area of cyber security.

To address some of these issues, Transport Systems Catapult has carried out some research on the future of cyber security in intelligent mobility, in collaboration with Digital Catapult, IBM, Coventry University, and the Institution of Engineering and Technology. This research has prompted the publication of a new ‘Cyber Security and Intelligent Mobility’ report. But what will this mean and what does the future hold for the transport industry?

The report suggests that the future will not be an extension of the current issues. As demands for integrating technology into mobility become insatiable, Intelligent Mobility (IM) will be a whole different proposition to securing current transport systems. This proposition is characterised by the following elements:

· Deep levels of integration across all mobility sectors and new forms of mobility. As Mobility as a Service (i.e. services that integrate several modes of transport) gain advantage, the technological relationships between infrastructure providers, service operators, and technology solutions will become deeper. All providers will need to understand and plan for potential security issues at a system level.

· Decentralised control of customer and operational choices. The customer will use new technologies to put themselves in control of their transportation. Single points of control like ticket offices or even individual ticketing websites will be replaced with decentralised systems of coordination, information-sharing, and decision-making between multiple organisations and individuals, enabled in real time by technology.

· Autonomy as standard. Vehicle manufacturers are increasingly taking the mindset of designing new vehicles with future autonomy in mind. Safety-critical systems are of the upmost concern to cyber security and transport professionals and will need a keen focus.

· New business models and services emerging. The business model of mobility is rapidly changing. We are seeing a shift away from selling vehicles or running public transport services, towards mobility providers who can provide multiple means of transportation based on individual needs. This will radically change the economics of the mobility market and affect the business case for investing in cyber security.

Mobility companies, governments, academics, cyber security practitioners and people using our mobility systems every day will now face new challenges. The research indicated that even securing current systems whilst maintaining the same level of service is a huge challenge.

The levels of maturity in each sector in tackling this challenge are varied but on the whole it is relatively low. As cyber-attacks become more prevalent, most sectors are still learning about how to prevent cyber-attacks. The future is only likely to see more attacks, happening more often, with a greater potency.

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