7/3/2019 | 4 MINUTE READ

Tech Watch

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Stopping “Spoofing”

Global position system “spoofing” may sound like harmless fun, but it’s no laughing matter. GPS spoofing refers to a malicious attack that broadcasts false signals to receivers that could take control of autonomous vehicles and/or feed them dangerously inaccurate data.

Southwest Research Institute (swri.org) developed a spoofing test system that intercepted an actual GPS signal from a vehicle-mounted antenna, processed it and then inserted a spoofed signal. That tampered signal was broadcast to the GPS receiver on the vehicle, which essentially gave the spoofing system full control over a GPS receiver.

While testing the system on an automated vehicle on a test track, engineers were able to push the vehicle off course by 10 meters, effectively causing it to drive off the road. The vehicle could also be forced to turn early or late.

“Most automated vehicles will not rely solely on GPS because they use a combination of sensors such as lidar, camera machine vision, GPS and other tools,” said Victor Murray, head of SwRI’s Cyber Physical Systems Group in the Intelligent Systems Division. “However, GPS is a basis for positioning in a lot of systems, so it is important for manufacturers to have the ability to design technology to address vulnerabilities.”

SwRI notes that its test system conforms with federal law, which prohibits over-the-air re-transmission of GPS signals without prior authorization.

“This is a legal way for us to improve the cyber resilience of autonomous vehicles by demonstrating a transmission of spoofed or manipulated GPS signals to allow for analysis of system responses,” Murray said.


Building Durability, Affordability in Fuel Cells

The adage “fuel cell-powered vehicles are the future, and always will be” remains largely true. The costs of the zero-emission powertrain, coupled with the relatively slow rollout of hydrogen fuel infrastructure has stunted the industry, while electric vehicles have taken off by comparison.

University of Waterloo (uwaterloo.ca) researchers report they have developed a new fuel cell that lasts at least 10 times longer than current technology. That progress could make it cheap enough to replace traditional gasoline engines, they calculate.

“We have found a way to lower costs and still satisfy durability and performance expectations,” Xianguo Li, director of the Fuel Cell and Green Energy Lab at Waterloo. “We’re meeting economic targets while providing zero emissions for a transportation application.”

Researchers say they have upped durability by tweaking design; specifically delivering a constant amount of energy, instead of fluctuating the current. They hope the introduction of fuel cells, first in plug-in hybrid vehicles, could make the math work for mass production and economies of scale for full hydrogen-powered cars. That move could pave the way for the replacement of both battery-powered and gas engines, researchers say.

“This is a good first step, a transition to what could be the answer to the internal combustion engine and the enormous environmental harm it does,” said Li.

A paper on their work appears in the May edition of the journal Applied Energy.


Hot (Beamed) Wheels

In partnership with GE Additive (ge.com/additive), HRE Wheels (HREwheels.com) announced the release of a newly revised version of its HRE3D+, a titanium wheel produced via additive manufacturing. And while it’s only the second generation of this wheel, it’s already shed about 17% of its weight since the first version just five months ago.

The wheel was created through two advanced manufacturing processes. Direct Metal Laser Melting (DMLM) used laser technology to melt ultra-fine layers of titanium powder on top of each other, gradually building up the wheel. The second process, Electron Beam Melting (EBM), used a beam of electrons to heat and fuse raw metal materials in a vacuum in a refinement of the process used to create the first HRE3D+.

Those two processes drastically reduced the amount of titanium wasted on the manufacturing floor, from roughly 80% to just 5% by weight. That led to 20- and 21-inch wheels weighing 16 and 19 pounds, respectively, down from 20 and 23 pounds.

Appearance-wise, the two versions are not drastically different. However, the first generation consisted of five parts, including a center cap and lug seat section that held the spokes against the vehicle, while the second generation has a redesigned center area, which helped reduce the assembly to five printed sections.


What Intel Capital Sees in TriEye

Intel Capital is investing in TriEye (trieye.tech), maker of a sensing technology it says can see objects in rough weather and in the dark of night. Intel Capital led a $17-million Series A funding round in the Israeli startup.

TriEye has developed a Short-Wave-Infra-Red (SWIR) camera, which could initially enter the market in 2020. The camera will allow advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles to “see” in low-light conditions such as fog, dust or at night.

The company says its camera is similar in functionality to InGaAs-based SWIR cameras, which are frequently deployed in the defense and aerospace industries and are expensive, much too expensive for automotive adoption.

TriEye's SWIR camera is based on complementary metal–oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology used in building integrated circuits. That means it can be mass produced affordably in a miniaturized version for vehicles, reducing the costs by a factor of 1,000 compared with InGaAs-based technology, according to the company. That smaller camera would be mounted behind a vehicle’s windshield.

TriEye’s existing investor is Grove Ventures, which headed by TriEye chairman Dov Moran, who may be best known as the inventor of the USB flash drive.

 

Fig. 1 (072019ADP-TechWatch-SouthwestResearch.jpg)

Researchers at Southwest Research Institute developed a GPS “spoofing” system to help automakers to defend automated vehicles against would-be hackers.

 

Fig. 2 (072019ADP-TechWatch-IntelCapital.jpg)

Intel Capital is investing millions in TriEye, whose SWIR camera is small enough to fit behind a vehicle’s windshield and which provides the ability to “see” in the dark as well as under bad weather conditions.

 

 


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