Interoperability – what’s it all about?

Interoperability is the ability of different computerized systems to readily connect and exchange information. In AVP, it is a must.


Interoperability - cars of different types and manufacturers

Cars, not to mention vehicles, come in all shapes and forms. And from many manufacturers. While autonomous driving is globally still in the not so near future due to legislation, technical limitations and the fact that the age structure of vehicles currently in everyday use doesn’t change over night, there are various use-cases for autonomous and automated driving in areas, which are not public roads of otherwise public areas. Automated Valet Parking, or AVP in short, is one of those use-cases.

As an idea, the automated valet parking sounds like a simple enough idea to implement. Just have cars driven by a computer. However, there are many things to consider before letting and getting a system to maneuver a car or any vehicle. One of those considerations is the fact that cars and vehicles have different manufacturers and therefore different in-built systems which are not always – or in fact rarely are – compatible with each other.

Enter interoperability

Imagine a parking garage with human valets. As humans, we have high interoperability with cars and usually also with other humans. Even with a language or sometimes a personality barrier, we are able to communicate so that we can safely maneuver in complex environments with changing conditions. However, systems are in many cases built on different platforms that use different programming languages and do not have a visual (sign) language to fall back on if the commands and the language is strange. The communication from one car to another could be like trying to communicate with extraterrestrials for the first time. If the world of systems and vehicles was to be described in a human valet service, we would need to have manufacturer and sometimes even model dependent drivers for different cars. Even with the service being enabled for just a few car brands, we would need dozens of valets. This of course, is not a valid business case.

This is why we need standardization, for example an ISO-standard, which describes what features should be implemented, how and to what extent. The automotive industry is actually doing this as we speak. The ISO 23374 standard is being developed to address interoperability and define how the communication between systems and vehicles should be created. In general terms, the industry is developing a common language. This language can also be used in other industries which could utilize automated driving enabled by an external infrastructure.

Interoperability requires intensive security

Having access to various vehicles systems offers great opportunities but also comes with great responsibility. The ability to control cars remotely could offer a chance for creating hazardous situations, injuries and also significant financial losses to people and businesses enabling new autonomous and automated features. The need for intensive security must come with developing automated and autonomous technologies. The system and its operations must be protected from multiple angles – not just within the vehicles but in the entire ecosystem including sensors, actuators, computers, connections, systems but also the physical environment must be created so that it offers nonexistent possibilities to hack or disturb the system. There must be multiple layers of security and if someone even in the future manages to find a crack in the shield, the system and the environment must be able to lock itself safely until the breach has been handled accordingly.

Having extensive experience in ultra secure systems, hardware and software development, Unikie has joined AUTOSAR, the AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture group. Unikie leads the car manufacturers’ international information security team in order to assess risks in the development of automotive hardware and software and to offer expertise in making sure the end users and businesses can utilize new technologies with confidence and safety.

Live at the IAA Mobility 2021 - showcase for interoperbility

At the IAA Mobility 2021, Unikie will be presenting its solution for Automated Valet Parking along with major automotive TIER1 technology providers such as BOSCH, Valeo and Continental. All developed systems and environments must work together with all the participating OEMs vehicles – BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche. Automated Valet Parking has been demoed in the past, but what makes this showcase special is the interoperability between multiple car brands, car models and systems. It is the very first time we get to see interoperability in action.


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