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Towards connected vehicle security analysis and UNECE R160

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In my recent analysis of UNECE Regulation No. 160, a significant shift in vehicle safety systems has become evident. This regulation introduces a mandate for installing Event Data Recorders (EDRs) in vehicles, essentially automotive “Black Boxes.” However, it’s crucial to note that security is not a focus within this regulation, as cyber security management and software updates at OEMs are addressed separately under R155/6.

The triggering of these recorders is primarily centered around physical crashes. Yet, the scope of data they capture is surprisingly limited. Important pre-crash vehicle dynamics, which could shed light on risk factors leading up to an incident, are notably omitted.

A particularly striking aspect of this regulation is the absence of a standardized protocol for accessing EDR data. This oversight creates a gap for investigative authorities, potentially hindering the full utilization of this data in post-accident analyses. Originally, the regulation did not distinguish between human drivers and automated systems in terms of steering and pedal inputs. Fortunately, this vital distinction has been rectified in the latest version, which now includes the status of specific driver assistance systems like cruise control.

Despite these improvements, the omission of explicit timestamps and other potentially crucial data, such as interior camera footage or onboard system interactions, limits the forensic potential of EDRs. This limitation becomes increasingly significant as we edge closer to autonomous driving. It underscores the need for regulatory updates to keep pace with the rapid technological advancements in this area.

Another concern is the narrow recording window specified by R160, which means cybersecurity breaches, vehicle manipulations, or malfunctions unrelated to accidents are not within the EDR’s analytical capabilities. This highlights an essential area for further development.

As we continue to advance into a digital and autonomous driving landscape, it’s imperative for the automotive industry and regulatory bodies to regularly revise data recording requirements. The goal should always be to enhance road safety and address the new challenges posed by autonomous vehicles.

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