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United States Transportation

US To Standardize Car App/communication Device Components 173

Posted by samzenpus
from the car-speak dept.
coondoggie writes "The U.S. 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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US To Standardize Car App/communication Device Components

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  • by bobstreo (1320787) on Monday August 12, 2013 @03:22PM (#44544915)

    The UN creates a completely different standard, based on Russian Car Cams.

  • What about makeing the EZ-pass system work for all us toll roads as well?

    • by sinij (911942)
      Standardized toll pass would allow cash-strapped counties to collect tolls from out of county residents. Just like "speeding" tickets, only there is no such thing as driving slowly to get around it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Standardized toll pass would allow cash-strapped counties to collect tolls from out of county residents. Just like "speeding" tickets, only there is no such thing as driving slowly to get around it.

        The Massachusetts Turnpike already does that without the EZ pass. Say you're an out-of-state driver who has never heard of the Mass Pike, so you turn onto a clearly-labeled interstate, follow a one-way road for a little bit, and BAM! Hit by a surprise toll. Better hope you've got cash, sucker, 'cause there's nowhere else to go!

        • by richlv (778496)

          i travel around some parts of the usa w/o any cash at all every now and then. what would they do in such a case ?

          also, aren't un-labeled toll roads illegal or something ? in florida, toll roads have several very great warnings before, some even saying "last exit before toll" - even i notice them :)

    • by mjr167 (2477430)
      Anyone else notice how terrible an acronym US is? Specifically when people are too lazy to capitalize it.
      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        1) That's not an acronym.
        2) If it were, it would be a great one, because we know the universe revolves around the United States. So whether you say us or U.S., you're talking about the same place.

        (That's (intended) as a JOKE, folks.)

    • by real gumby (11516)

      Actually you have hit on an important point. The EZ-pass systems can easily be implemented in a privacy-protecting fashion (allowing you to buy them anonymously and pay cash) but somehow never are. Hmm.

      I think we can be pretty sure that however these protocols are designed, privacy and security will not be taken into account.

    • by icebike (68054)

      What about makeing the EZ-pass system work for all us toll roads as well?

      How about getting rid of toll roads all together?
      You paid for them from your taxes. Do you get anything back when someone pays a toll?

      Thought not.

  • by game kid (805301) on Monday August 12, 2013 @03:26PM (#44544957) Homepage

    This is probably not needed for their drivers though. The use of middle fingers and "FUCK YOU!" appears to have caught on just fine as an industry standard.

  • The U.S. National Securty Agency has high hopes of standardizing the way autos talk to each other and with other intelligent roadway systems of the future
      • Re:FTFY (Score:5, Interesting)

        by stewsters (1406737) on Monday August 12, 2013 @04:00PM (#44545357)
        Wow, that's scary. Whoever is buying that data can just look who's garage you park at every night to figure out who you are. The same thing goes if you have a cell phone carrier that sells your location data.

        "In 2011, OnStar did announce that it would start retaining all the information collected by the GPS and internal system, so that it could be sold to third parties (possibly insurance companies).[13] Although this data is supposed to be “anonymized”, it remains unclear exactly what they mean by this as it is extremely difficult to anonymize GPS data."
        • There's also the following, from OnStar's ToS:

          18. WHAT IF YOUR CAR IS STOLEN? If your Car is stolen, we can try to locate it. Before we try to locate it, you’ll need to provide satisfactory identification, and the police must be treating the Car as stolen. Generally, we will only provide location information about stolen Cars to the police; however, in cases of crises or emergencies, we may, in our own judgment, provide you with information about the general area of your Car without police involvement. OnStar may be notified by an early warning system that your Car may have been stolen and, in some cases, you may also be notified by OnStar. We don’t have to continue to try to locate your Car after 48 hours from the time you first report it stolen, and we can’t guarantee that we’ll find it. We also aren’t required to try to find your Car for the purpose of locating someone.

          Your Car may have Stolen Vehicle Slowdown capability that enables OnStar to slow down your stolen Car remotely and/or the capability that enables OnStar to stop your Car from starting to assist law enforcement in its recovery. OnStar may also slow down your Car or stop your Car from starting if required to comply with legal requirements, including valid court orders in criminal investigations and to protect the safety of you or others.

          If you don’t want Stolen Vehicle Slowdown capability on your Car, you must contact OnStar by pressing the blue OnStar button in your Car and request that this capability be disabled. If you choose to disable this capability, it will not be available under any circumstances and can only be re-enabled at an authorized car dealership at your expense.

          Emphasis added to highlight the scary.

          Now, where the heck is that OnStar module in my truck, and how to remove/disable it...

  • I for one welcome our automobile overlords.

  • Why Bother... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jhfry (829244) on Monday August 12, 2013 @03:30PM (#44544987)

    Microsoft will just come along and break standard anyway.

    • yeah, it won't be compatible with the roadway, it won't play nicely with other cars, and they'll figure out a way to make the windscreen blue.

      And the tech support page online about it will say "non-Microsoft cars don't follow industry standards" and that's about it.

      • But it will be the RT version, and nobody will ever actually see those cars.

      • by Livius (318358)

        And before the air bag deploys in a crash, there will be a message asking "Are you sure?"

      • by Fnord666 (889225)

        ...and they'll figure out a way to make the windscreen blue.

        But the windscreen will only turn blue in the case of a crash.

  • by intermodal (534361) on Monday August 12, 2013 @03:30PM (#44544991) Homepage Journal

    In the short run, the real question for me will not be how the cars communicate with each other, but how they handle the cars that do not communicate at all. Nobody wants to swap engine oil at 75MPH with the VW Bus going 55 just because the bus wasn't communicating. Just like how nobody wants to meet the driver of that car that had to stop short to avoid a hazard.

    I think for me, the biggest feature I'd like to see is a HUD that gives me a relative speed on the cars around me along with warning indicators communicated from cars ahead when debris is noted on the road. Hate that last-minute slight swerve to dodge a thrown tyre-tread that I couldn't see until the swerve.

    • by PPH (736903) on Monday August 12, 2013 @03:35PM (#44545059)

      I think for me, the biggest feature I'd like to see is a HUD

      Prior art: Windshield.

    • by dgatwood (11270)

      In the short run, the real question for me will not be how the cars communicate with each other, but how they handle the cars that do not communicate at all. Nobody wants to swap engine oil at 75MPH with the VW Bus going 55 just because the bus wasn't communicating. Just like how nobody wants to meet the driver of that car that had to stop short to avoid a hazard.

      All non-automated vehicles should be required to immediately be retrofitted with beacons that identify their GPS location, speed, and whether any indicators are illuminated (brake lights, turn signals). This enhancement could be added to any vehicle with a minimum amount of effort. This at least simplifies things somewhat.

    • by plover (150551)

      The security model should certainly include signed messages. I wouldn't want to see a repeat of the ADS-B debacle. However, I trust that nothing can't be spoofed or hacked by someone. The private keys could leak out, or even be selectively tampered with by someone with authority.

      To solve this, I'd like to see a security model that included a crowd-sourced "validity" rating of the other nearby vehicles. It's not enough that each vehicle sends a signed message. Each vehicle should be comparing the messag

    • by EvilSS (557649)
      Easy: The "smart" vehicle with track the dumb vehicle and maintain a safe distance. It will then communicate back to the USDOT and an automated drone strike will "retire" the obsolete vehicle.
    • by Fnord666 (889225)

      Hate that last-minute slight swerve to dodge a thrown tyre-tread that I couldn't see until the swerve.

      Here's a hint. You're following too closely.

  • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Monday August 12, 2013 @03:34PM (#44545047)

    Seriously, this is annoying as heck. Either because they're going under the speed limit, or they're going at the exact-speed as the guy in the next lane and blocking traffic. And the highways by me are plastered with "Left lane pass only" or "keep to right except to pass"

    Under the speed limit is obvious...

    But the same-speed thing bothers me. NOT when it's rush hour... there's nothing to be done about that.

    But it's mid-day and some idiot decides to cruise on the left-lane at the EXACT speed as the guy in the next lane. Nobody in front of either of them as far as the eye can see. So traffic is building up and up behind them and causing congestion because nobody can pass these 2-or-3 cars in front of them.

    If you want to be going as the same speed as the guy in the middle or right lane, then GET IN the middle or right lane!

    ADDENDUM... especially when the left-lane idiot is going the same speed as the dump-truck next to him. So everyone is getting pelted with small pebbles and things and are unable to pass.

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday August 12, 2013 @03:59PM (#44545347)

      ADDENDUM... especially when the left-lane idiot is going the same speed as the dump-truck next to him. So everyone is getting pelted with small pebbles and things and are unable to pass.

      I don't need a new government standard to fix this. I already put a pair of pneumatically-driven TRAIN HORNS connected to a deep cycle marine battery and isolated with a big honking 1 farad capacitor and an industrial-grade current limiter under the hood. It's good for about 20 seconds of SWEET MOTHER OF GOD sound before it spends the next half hour recharging off the alternator.

      Believe me... people get out of the way when their car is literally shaking from the noise behind them. And yes, I did dynamat the entire passenger compartment, even the firewall... which makes for whisper-quiet drives until HORN OF DEATH is activated. I have four sets of industrial-grade ear protection and a pack of disposable ear plugs in the glove box, because I measured the SPL at over 120dB even with all the sound-dampening. Unfortunately, the windshield itself transmits a significant amount of vibration through it and there's no practical way to fix that problem...

      I've only had to use this weapons-grade horn a couple of times, but let me say, the effects were immediate. Make sure you have plenty of distance between the vehicle in front of you when you hit the button... people have a funny habit of standing on the brakes when their world turns a vibrating shade of red.

      I personally guarantee you though... you'll be able to pass anyone after pushing the big blue button.

      • by cusco (717999)
        I was set to purchase a set of semi truck air horns and the rig to run them when my wife asked, "What is that?" I told her, and that was the end of that project. Should have waited until she left for work. . .
      • by real gumby (11516)

        A similar technique is quite effective for tailgaters. If you want to go faster than me I'm happy to let you pass, but sometimes that can't happen because it's one lane, it's icy, or I just have to get past the even slower guys to my right. You don't need to kiss my car in these situations -- I know you're there!

        So in high school I rigged a dashboard switch to the brake lights. If an annoying tailgater decided to touch the back of my car I simply held down the switch...which never failed to open up some

        • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday August 12, 2013 @05:05PM (#44546115)

          So in high school I rigged a dashboard switch to the brake lights. If an annoying tailgater decided to touch the back of my car I simply held down the switch...which never failed to open up some space!

          You don't really need to do that. Most vehicle brakes light before any significant pressure is applied -- you can usually trip it with just a light touch (not enough to affect speed). Unless your car is very new or the brakes were just replaced, there's usually enough play to get the light to come on.

          • by real gumby (11516)

            But then I'd have to take my foot off the accelerator....

            Although I hear some American driving schools are teaching the kids to use their left foot for the brake, which sounds like educational malpractice to me.

      • by EvilSS (557649)
        You... are my hero.
  • by PPH (736903)

    No problem. Just see what the EU and the rest of the world comes up with. Then do something else.

    Just like ATSC.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday August 12, 2013 @03:40PM (#44545125)

    First thing this proposal needs is a way to update the firmware of any such technology in a direct, physical, and only-by-the-driver fashion. Because if there's one thing I've learned about government-sponsored "standards" in technology... it's that they will fuck it up.

    The best approach will probably be creating some kind of virtual stack with an API interface to applications; Keep it flexible so that as security vulnerabilities are discovered (they WILL be discovered), the network stack itself can be upgraded. It should also be mandatory that manufacturers support any device/vehicle for at least twenty years. None of this crap like we have with cell phones where only a few patches or upgrades are released and then "ha ha, that's it ... upgrade to our newer model now!" As well, every device should be required to be updated at least once a year; That all firmware has an expiration date, and newer versions of the protocol are intentionally only backwards compatible for one or two revisions prior.

    This will ensure that (eventually) any vulnerable device or exploit is eventually totally removed from the road. Any such communication tech should also fail safe -- that is, if it isn't upgraded, or whatever... it just disables itself allowing for manual control. The operator should also have the option of immediately discontinuing connections to earlier versions of the protocol or disabling the device entirely (manual mode), and such options should be easily-accessible without any tools or special knowledge.

    Lastly, all vehicles should have a prominent fail-safe button readily accessible by the driver without needing to take his/her eyes off the road, and should be tactile (not these capacitive buttons, but a real pushable button), which immediately disables all automation and computer control and resets all inputs to a "fail-safe" manual level to allow for immediate operation of the vehicle -- specifically to bring it to a stop as quickly and safely as possible. This button (ideally) will be located on the steering wheel or column and can be hit without taking hands off the wheel. Basically... and emergency kill switch that engages mechanical and direct linkage to critical vehicle inputs like steering, braking, and throttle.

    • by dgatwood (11270)

      It should also be mandatory that manufacturers support any device/vehicle for at least twenty years.

      No, because it is safe to assume that the manufacturers will lock down the device so that only they can create updates for it, and it is safe to assume that manual driving will become more and more restricted over time. Setting any specific time limit is thus equivalent to planned obsolescence on a nationwide scale.

      Manufacturers should be required to update the firmware for as long as a single copy of that c

      • by mpe (36238)
        The manufacturer should have the ability to push an "unsafe firmware" notice to the device. If the device sees that flag, it should immediately flag that version of the firmware as potentially dangerous. If it is currently booted from the unsafe version and if it has another version installed that is not flagged, it should immediately find a safe spot to pull over, pull over, reboot from the other version of the firmware, and continue the trip.

        How do you stop someone maliciously sending out such a message
  • I wish the DOT would just pick some already working open standards and improve where needed instead of re-inventing something by committee.

    • by Trepidity (597)

      Are there any solid open standards already in existence for this problem?

    • by EvilSS (557649)
      Please provide link to said already working open standard for inter-vehicle communications.
  • Once things are standardized, we can commence the march towards autonomous cars. Nothing would make traffic move smoother than cars driving themselves that can communicate with each other.

    • by EvilSS (557649)
      I'm all for anything that removes the driver from the equation as much as possible.
      • by mbkennel (97636)

        Where Do You Want To Go Today?
        <xxx>
        Do you mean _Wally Mart_? There are Many Attractive Offers of Name-Brand Merchandise today.
        No!
        Got It. Wally Mart has a fine selection of store-brand items at major discounts, perfect for your .... h.e.m.m.o.r.r.h.o.i.d. ... interest. We'll be there in about 17 minutes.
        Stop !
        I'm sorry, I'm afraid I can't do that, we are not at our destination.
      • by iggymanz (596061)

        and if the government wants to remove you from the equation permanently with a traffic accident?

        • by EvilSS (557649)
          Please. Traffic accident, "tragic mistake" by SWAT team, drone strike. Dead is dead. But if I don't have to put up with rubber-necking morons on my way to my doom then I'll take it.
    • Yes, having your car drive you to a remote parking lot where you have to buy male enhancement products to regain control of your vehicle is a GREAT idea.

  • Fantastic, then the NSA can monitor where we go, where we stop, and if we change the oil on schedule. If we are "suspected of being a terrorist" the CIA can direct our car over a cliff, into a fireworks stand, or into a farming combine to make it look like an accident.
  • They want to get out in front of any standards so they can design in any API that the NSA needs. Those things are notoriously hard to get right after the fact.
  • for my new car to tell the state police exactly how fast it was going, no radar needed.
  • Absolute silence. Of course I wouldn't put it past the government to hack up a few thousand pages that standardize "silence".

  • Equip cars with an array of tail lights like "welcome wagon" helos from ID4. Nerby vechicles could use CCDs to capture signals and convert them into usable instructions.

  • viruses and malware for cars. definitely going to happen
  • if i can make a device that tells the car(s) in front of me "get out of the lane because you are about to get hit" it will all have been worth the effort.

    this seems all too easy to manipulate.

  • Must learn enough about cars to disable all this stuff when I buy a new one.

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