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BlackBerry’s Security Credential and Management System (SCMS) lets autonomous vehicles communicate with wired objects in the Intelligent Traffic Systems, as part of the Smart Cities movement. In December 2018, the Ontario-based company said manufacturers and urban engineers could avail themselves of the SCMS at no cost.
By turning the tech out to the makers of everything from automobiles to traffic signals, the company hopes its SCMS will become the security standard in vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication.
In its heyday, the company sold around half of all smartphones and turned over upwards of $20 billion annually. After being usurped by competing mobile device platforms and falling victim to security improvements that permit users to work on preferred handsets instead of on company phones and tablets, BlackBerry shifted focus, according to toolbox.com.
The result is the company’s pioneering work to secure communications among edge devices, even as revenues have fallen off a cliff, failing to pass the $1 billion mark in 2018.
The Certicom tech that underpins the SCMS uses a hosted public key infrastructure that manages the certificates, both for enterprise customers and in ITS and Smart Cities ecosystems. BlackBerry says Certicom is designed to be both scalable and used across borders in transnational deployments.
The SCMS uses digital certificates to ensure that vehicles know they are communicating with other vehicles, as well as the roadside devices that control signals at intersections and crosswalks. They also draw data from the Internet of Things to plot courses and identify pedestrians.
The roadside transmitters enable ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) models to shepherd traffic with greater efficiency. Working together with onboard control systems in autonomous vehicles, they can gauge and moderate speeds to increase traffic throughput and improve safety.
Wired automobiles and roadside stations also connect with traffic management systems in the cloud, traffic management centers on the ground and with mobile devices at the edge. BlackBerry says the SCMS can identify and verify cloud platforms and edge devices in ITS ecosystems.
The SCMS and the Certicom tech that underpins it are components of BlackBerry’s Spark platform, developed to facilitate communication among connected devices. Augmented in September to allow OEMs to embed secure tokens and certificates in their devices, the platform lets users control what the company calls “the Internet of Everything.”
V2X relies on both cellular and network communications to facilitate transmissions between autonomous vehicles and the myriad devices that include cameras and sensors but also Internet hotspots and smartphones they encounter en route. That number will get a boost not only as connected vehicles become commonplace, but with the rollout of 5G telecommunications.
5G’s expanded frequency widens the number of connected devices that comprise the Internet of Things. US carrier AT&T began implementing 5G in a dozen US cities last month. According to the Visual Networking Index released in November by Silicon Valley-specialist Cisco Systems, the number of machine-to-machine connections will surpass 14 billion by 2022.