Security Is Key to Saving Lives with Connectivity: A Message from ITS JPO Director Brian Cronin

If you have ever signed a contract, purchased a home, or applied for a passport, you probably needed a notary – an official who helps deter fraud by authenticating documents and verifying the signers’ identities. We use notaries when it is essential to know that the signers are who they say they are.

In a similar way, authentic, trusted communication is essential to vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology, which enables vehicles to communicate with each other, with other road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, and with roadside infrastructure.

V2X connectivity holds great promise for saving lives on our nation’s roadways. Unlike many other safety technologies, however, V2X applications are cooperative. They depend on the exchange of accurate, reliable safety information in real time. A security system is critical to ensure that these technologies – and the information they provide – can be trusted.

Basic Safety Data Image

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is dedicated to integrating security and trust capabilities into V2X communications. In fact, we have applied “security by design” principles from the start. In partnership with the automotive industry and security experts, the USDOT developed a proof-of-concept Security Credential Management System (SCMS). Building upon the initial SCMS, multiple commercial SCMS vendors are now operational, providing certificates for real-world connected vehicle deployments.

The SCMS uses innovative encryption methods and certificate management techniques to facilitate trusted communication. Essentially, authorized V2X devices go through a certification process that validates them as trusted entities in the V2X ecosystem. When these devices transmit a safety message, they attach a digital certificate, like a signature. The SCMS also helps to ensure privacy, detect misbehavior, and achieve interoperability. (For more information, see our V2X Security Fact Sheet.

As V2X technology continues to evolve, the USDOT is working with industry and other stakeholders to ensure that all forms of V2X connectivity allow for safe and secure communications. Together, we can create a V2X ecosystem that all road users can trust.

Brian Cronin, Director, ITS JPO

Posted 4/23/24