January 28, 2020
Keyless vehicle entry is commonly available in many different makes and models. This innovation has made it easy for users to get into a car and hit the road. But with innovation comes risk, which is why UL helps the automotive industry keep their developments secure.
“That’s our vision of the future,” Arman Aygen, innovation and strategy manager for UL’s Identity Management and Security division, said. “This is the kind of work UL is involved in as we look at the interoperability and security functions of keyless vehicle entry.”
Recent developments in the industry would have been unthought of five or even 10 years ago. Take, for example, the current trend of upgrading older non-internet enabled vehicles to respond to keyless car entry through the use of a short-range communication device.
Some German car manufacturers are allowing vehicle owners to use their smartphones to open vehicles remotely using an app. American car manufacturers allow retrofits to make these features available, according to Aygen. However, the people benefitting from keyless entry convenience extends beyond individual car owners.
This development is making it more convenient for people renting vehicles as well, turning an in-person process that can sometimes be a hassle into a digital application with a smoother onboarding process.
“You can take the car, use it and drop it anywhere, and you’re charged the usage rate,” he said. “Some of these mobility services are offered directly by the car manufacturers themselves.”
Industries such as trucking are also looking into electronic logging devices as a way to solve fleet management issues. Businesses can issue keys that would be kept on a driver’s phone and then remove access to the vehicle after the job is done.
UL works to keep keyless entry-enabled vehicles secure, whether a key, a keyless fob or a smartphone is used. UL performs risk assessments for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with a thief’s capabilities and assets in mind. This way, OEMs can develop their security measures through countermeasures.
“The entire experience needs to be looked at from an end-to-end perspective in order to help ensure local and digital security,” Aygen said. “It is also important not to overlook the protection of the cloud. Centralized information is great for convenience, but it could also help the thieves to not only gain unlawful access to the car but to find out its exact location also.”
The future of mobility
Eventually, mobile driver’s licenses will come into play, allowing for even greater security and convenience. By working alongside keyless entry, a vehicle could use a mobile driver’s license smartphone app to know who is driving the vehicle, whether or not their license is suspended or expired, and if the user has permission to drive the vehicle. A guest could still drive a vehicle if the owner wants. All that would be required is for the owner to send the guest a token via their smartphone to allow access and permission to drive the vehicle.
Mobile drivers licenses and keyless entry technology will enable other industries, such as insurance, to enhance their processes also.
“The problem you have with insurance is that everyone has a different version of the truth. Let’s say you were involved in an accident with another car. You, the other driver and any bystander witnesses will have different stories and different points of view. Insurance companies spend a lot of money on reconciliation, and that takes time,” Aygen said. “If you can figure out a way of working all the different mobile data and information from the different vehicles together, you can create a single truth and get to the heart of the matter. Having the means of assuring the integrity and immutability of the data is the key ingredient here.”
But to make this process work, the information has to be validated and assurances made that the information has not been changed. The solution to making this work is cryptographic techniques to encode and then decrypt the data at a later time. The W3C Automotive Working Group is currently working on a standardized form of data that people with the same application can use to access different car brands and keep the data secure and trustworthy.