"Next generational thinking will be key in realising future mobility"

By Graeme Roberts | 8 June 2020

As the automotive industry looks ahead to future mobility, the Centre for Connected & Autonomous Automotive Research (CCAAR) believes fresh thinking from new industry entrants and innovative academics will play a key role in making it happen.

On a global level, the automotive industry continues to face its most significant challenge yet in establishing a new future offering which utilises novel technology in electrification, automation and connectivity, in order to realise smarter, greener, connected vehicles.

In response, the UK government and major businesses continue to plough extensive investment and resource into major projects led by industry powerhouses in a bid to progress the technological breakthroughs required for the future mobility vision.

For CCAAR, a unique automotive research centre developed in partnership between Horiba MIRA and Coventry University, it is equally important for industry to embrace the next generation of technologically talented entrants whose fresh thinking and disruptive theories will also play a huge role in fuelling future practice.

Siraj Ahmed Shaikh, professor for security systems at CCAAR, said: "The UK is home to some of the most accomplished automotive expertise in the world, both in the fields of industry and academia, who continue to spearhead the mobility revolution.

"However, it's equally interesting to see the fundamental role that the next generation will play in this transition by taking advantage of the unparalleled access to the network of researchers and industry experts involved in CCAAR. For example, many of our students working on PhDs in the field of automotive cybersecurity have come up with truly ground breaking concepts which have not only been well received by the industry but will go a long way in forming the basis of future practice."

Examples of pioneering academia from CCAAR students include the proposed development of a systematic tool for testing in cabin Bluetooth security and the application of Fuzz testing, a quality assurance technique used to discover coding errors and security loopholes in software, within vehicle systems to help evaluate and reduce vulnerabilities. It also includes the creation of a systematic security testing approach of electrical control units (ECUs) based on the success of an example case used in over the air software updates.

Siraj said: "There are many technological challenges that must be overcome before connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) can be fully deployed on UK roads, from tackling the fundamental challenge of getting self driving vehicles to effectively behave like a human through to ensuring all according cybersecurity needs are met.

"The next generation, who are at the heart of this digital age, will be a major driving force in accomplishing this. Inherently accustomed to thinking through new technologies, their unique abilities to generate disruptive concepts and unique innovation will be crucial to realising the mobility revolution."