PRESERVE Kickoff Workshop

The newly-started European research project PRESERVE (Preparing Secure Vehicle-to-X Communication Systems) addresses the challenges of secure and privacy-friendly communication between vehicles. At the project’s kickoff meeting at the University of Twente, participants from academia and industry discussed how this goal could be achieved.

The common dream is about a new technology that will make travelling by car safer, faster, greener, and even more fun. Called vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-infrastructure communication (or short V2X), the basic idea is rather simple. By installing a radio interface into your car, you enable it to wirelessly communicate with other vehicles and road-side infrastructure. This radio interface is very similar to the WiFi networks many people use at home. Once equipped with the system, vehicles can inform each other about their position, direction, and speed. Traffic lights can tell approaching cars when they are about to switch to red or green.

Being C2C-enabled, cars could warn drivers if there is a danger of collision with another car that just had an accident and is blocking the road around the corner. Or cars could form a platoon, following each other at short distance to save fuel. Moreover, the whole platoon could drive with exactly the right speed to approach the next traffic light when it is green.

However, security and privacy protection of such systems are still considered major challenges. You need to prevent a hostile attacker from sending wrong and forged information to vehicles thus creating confusion or dangerous traffic situations. Another critical issue is driver privacy. V2X systems should of course not allow abuse of the communicated data to track the whereabouts of drivers.

The European research project PRESERVE (Preparing Secure Vehicle-to-X Communication Systems) aims at addressing these challenges and bringing secure and privacy-protected V2X communication closer to reality. Building on the results of earlier research projects, the goal is to design an integrated security and privacy protection system for V2X and to run large-scale tests to analyze its effectiveness and scalability. 

On February 1, the University of Twente hosted the project kickoff workshop on its premises. Among the attendants where not only members of the project but also representatives of the European Commission, of car manufacturers like Audi, Volkswagen, or Daimler, of component suppliers like Denso Automotive or NEC, and of important standardization bodies like the Car-2-Car Communication Consortium and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The group was completed by representatives from other research projects like DRIVE C2X and FOTsis with whom PRESERVE plans to closely cooperate in the upcoming years.

Throughout the day, participants discussed the status of the research area, project goals, and expectations of the different stakeholders with respect to the project outcome. The project officer Pierpaolo Tona from the European Commission expressed his hope and expectation that PRESERVE would become a worldwide reference for V2X security and privacy.

Frank Kargl, Associate Professor at the Distributed and Embedded Security Group of the University of Twente and Coordinator of the project, explains the motivation for PRESERVE: “The challenge is to conduct frontline academic research to solve a number of important but still open research questions while at the same time designing and building a security subsystem that is robust and scalable enough to be deployed and tested in field operational tests with hundreds of vehicles. The European Commission and car industry operates on a very ambitious time schedule, with first standards being ready by 2013 and actual products being available in the 2nd half of this decade. If we fail to come up with a convincing and well-tested solution to V2X security and privacy within this timeframe, this could mean that deployed systems will fall victim to attacks. If this happens, customers might even refuse adoption of those life-saving systems. Having an excellent set of partners, I am sure that PRESERVE will come up with solution that will allow a secure and privacy-preserving deployment of V2X”.

Project Facts

  • Project Acronym: PRESERVE
  • Project Title: Preparing Secure Vehicle-to-X Communication Systems
  • Project Reference: FP7-ICT-2009-6.2, Grant agreement no: 269994, Project Type: STREP
  • Project Duration: 48 months from 01.01.2011 – 31.12.2014
  • Web: http://www.preserve-project.eu/
  • Budget: 5.438 M€ (total, EC Funding: 3.850 M€, 391 man months)

Project Partners

  • University of Twente (coordinator), The Netherlands
  • Escrypt GmbH, Germany
  • Fraunhofer SIT, Germany
  • Kungliga Tekniska Hoegskolan (KTH), Sweden
  • Renault, France
  • Trialog, France

Contact (Coordinator)

  • Dr. Frank Kargl | University of Twente | The Netherlands
  • P.O.-Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
  • Phone: +31 53 489 4302 | Email: f.kargl@utwente.nl