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Vehicle Root of Trust - Cryptography and Cybersecurity

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W56HZV-22-C-0022
Agency Tracking Number: A21C-T022-0268
Amount: $172,624.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: A21C-T022
Solicitation Number: 21.C
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-02-03
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-08-06
Small Business Information
6601 Six Forks Road, Suite 470
Raleigh, NC 27615-6590
United States
DUNS: 080132790
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Hal Aldridge
 (919) 887-2560
Business Contact
 Hal Aldridge
Phone: (919) 887-2560
Research Institution
 North Carolina State University
 Amro Awad
2701 Sullivan Dr., Suite 240, Campus Box 7514
Raleigh, NC 27695-7514
United States

 (919) 515-5257
 Nonprofit College or University

Cybersecurity of modern automotive systems is a growing concern.  Modern vehicles continue to rapidly grow in functionality to support autonomous driving, electrification, and advanced user interfaces.  Cyber-attacks on commercial vehicles could result in significant safety, privacy, and availability issues.  Military vehicles have additional concerns.  They have to function in contested environments targeted by advanced cyber threats, be modified over their life-cycle with additional subsystems from multiple vendors, and be easily maintained to ensure readiness.  To prepare for these challenges, the Army has developed the neXtECU to act as a primary component of military vehicle electrical systems.  The neXtECU incorporates a Hardware Security Module (HSM) which can be configured for use as a Root of Trust (RoT).  A RoT can provide system security protections and assured cryptographic functions to support many different vehicle applications.  The RoT can support secure functions such as: working with the bootloader to authenticate system software ensuring a boot to a known secure state, protecting confidentiality of cryptographic keys, providing accelerated cryptographic functions for secure protocols, and cryptographic signing providing integrity protection of vehicle information including audit records/security logs.  During the proposed Phase I program, a Vehicle Root of Trust (VRoT) will be designed for the neXtECU.  The VRoT will provide a secure software stack which leverages the HSM incorporated into the NXP MPC5777M microcontroller (MCU) used in the neXtECU.  The VRoT design, inspired by automotive architectures including AUTOSAR, will incorporate three main elements: HSM Driver, HSM Application Programmer’s Interface (API), and HSM Secure Protocols.  Secmation is teamed with North Carolina State University leveraging their R&D capabilities in cybersecurity threat analysis, simulation, and electric vehicle design.  Secmation’s experience working with DoD organizations to implement cryptographic and cybersecurity solutions in embedded applications using NXP devices provides a solid foundation for the proposed program.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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