Cars are already computerized out the wazoo, but the next generation of connected cars will present plenty of opportunities for digital malcontents to compromise car systems. Bosch, a supplier for a wide variety of automakers, thinks it has solutions to this problem at itsstand.
Keyless entry and start is already a popular option for many cars, but when it comes to new types of car-sharing schemes and moving the key to the smartphone, there are plenty of concerns about how secure a system like this could be.
Bosch's Perfectly Keyless is a mixture of keyless entry and digital key sharing. It basically replaces the key with an owner's smartphone. Utilizing low-energy Bluetooth, it can recognize the device as it approaches the car, unlocking the doors and changing car settings to suit that specific driver's preferences. Walk away from the car, and it locks.
Using Bosch's dedicated app, owners can share keys with other users registered for its service. Each user receives their own "key" with the same benefit of stored vehicle settings. Time and location limits can be applied, as well.
Having the whole kit and caboodle on Bosch's secure back end should help allay security concerns. Basically, Bosch's one-stop keyless shop removes any needless complexity that could be exploited by hackers. Sure, you can still lose an unlocked phone, but Bosch can't do anything about that.
Central gateway, a router for your car
As more components inside the vehicle start relying on loads of data and connections to outside services, there will be a necessity to ramp up security to maintain a reasonable amount of protection. Bosch thinks it can solve that issue with its central gateway, which acts as the gatekeeper for a connected car's various services.
The central gateway is responsible for all outside communication, like how your house's router is what delivers the internet to your television, phone or hairbrush. It receives all external communications and filters it down to the various car components that need it.
And just like your home router, it's responsible for keeping the baddies at bay. It's capable of detecting intrusions to ensure that your car doesn't accidentally download malicious updates.
There are benefits beyond security, as well. It's capable of receiving over-the-air firmware updates in small enough chunks so that your car's battery doesn't die over the course of an overnight update. For example, it could only receive the changes to the current code, and the gateway would be responsible for sending it to the relevant component.
It also permits remote diagnostics, improving the service experience by giving the repair shop an idea of what's up before the car even arrives.
Whereas Perfectly Keyless is still working its way through development, Bosch already started production of its central gateway. Automakers will probably jump at the idea of a one-stop security shop, because keeping customers at ease as we move into a new era of connected cars is especially important. If you can't trust your car to deal with data securely, that could affect buying preferences and an automaker's bottom line.
A little peace of mind in the Wild West is never a bad thing.