US to standardize car app/communication device components

DOT wants what it calls a four layer approach to connected vehicle devices and applications certification

The US Department of Transportation has high hopes of standardizing the way autos talk to each other and with other intelligent roadway systems of the future.

The department recently issued a call for public and private researchers and experts to help it build what the DOT called "a hypothetical four layer approach to connected vehicle devices and applications certification." 

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The idea is to develop certification ensures that different components of intelligent travel systems that are manufactured according to connected vehicle technology requirements will be trusted by the system and by users, the DOT stated.   With national interoperability comes the opportunity to establish national standards and criteria for certification of individual products that will have access to the system, system processes, and operational procedures.

Certification research will be primarily focused on understanding the needs for device compliance, system security, and privacy requirements.  Application certification is separated into two parts; one part for communications interface certification, and another for overall functional certification of the application. This separation is necessary as interface semantics or message payload certification is applicable to one or more application.

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The four layers of certification are: Environmental abilities, communication protocol abilities, Interface abilities (both the syntax and contents of the message payload transmitted over the communications medium), and overall application abilities, the DOT stated.

Certification research will be primarily focused on understanding the needs for device compliance, system security, and privacy requirements.

The DOT said its Intelligent Transportation Systems program will conduct research activities in support of certification in the following areas:

  • Policy Research Related to Certification - Establish a forum for solving policy-related issues, including determining what is to be certified, what entity is responsible for certification, and what parties need to obtain certification. This research is included within connected vehicle policy research program, and it is envisioned that Government (U.S. DOT and State/local) will have the lead role in this research area.

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  • Technical Requirements for Certification- Define what level of items within a device or what interfaces need to be certified and how to accomplish the certification. It is envisioned that Government and industry will share responsibility for this area of work. However, Government will have a primary role in funding developments prior to a consumer market emerging for certified products. Government will serve as an enabler and coordinator of this function.
  • Implementation Support and Oversight - Executing the planned certification scheme will likely be done by a third-party entity. This includes development of test tools and methods. However, Government may have a role in assisting with start-up, and in overseeing operation and adherence to standards. This implies an ongoing operational role for Government beyond the scope of research.

The DOT said milestones for certification activities must match related milestones in the other program roadmaps. For instance, a 2013 milestone for potential rulemaking on equipment requirements in vehicles must be matched by a similar milestone to have certification requirements and processes established in time for implementation of the rule. More specific milestones will be established in conjunction with the development of the individual program roadmaps.

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