eSync specification v2.0 improves automotive OTA cybersecurity

Article By : Nitin Dahad

The eSync specification v2.0 expands on data gathering while extending the cybersecurity for over-the-air (OTA) software updates for automotive electronics.

The eSync Alliance has released v2.0 of the eSync specification which now expands on data gathering while extending the cybersecurity for over-the-air (OTA) software updates for automotive electronics. The new specification features secure, full bi-directional communications in a single OTA pipeline to in-vehicle devices. Based on a server/client/agent architecture, the eSync software platform provides a secure data path between the cloud and any number of electronic end devices located inside a vehicle. It can work across multiple operating systems and networks/busses to reach any ECU or smart sensor in the car. The v1.0 specifications of the eSync Alliance, released in April of 2019, focused on OTA installation of software into edge devices in the complex networks of modern vehicles.  OTA updates save time and money, while avoiding the inconvenience of owners having to take their vehicles in to a repair shop. The new v2.0 expands the specifications and guidelines for diagnostic data gathering over the air, providing structures for short message data such as diagnostic trouble codes, bulk data transfer for data collected from numerous devices over time, and streaming data from sensors, creating new opportunities for automakers and Tier-1 suppliers to improve their products and provide added value to their customers. Also included in the v2.0 specifications are guidelines for meeting regulatory requirements and standards defined by UNECE, NIST, NHTSA and ITU addressing cybersecurity and data privacy. “eSync now reaches well over 30 million devices in more than 1 million vehicles – and we already have automakers that are deploying eSync in their third, fourth and even fifth vehicle models,” said Mike Gardner, executive director at the eSync Alliance. “This demonstrates that it is a practical, executable specification with tangible, quantifiable benefits.”
eSync Alliance Specification V2.0
The eSync Alliance is an initiative established to standardize OTA updating and data gathering for the connected car, creating a common data pipeline from the cloud to each end device in the car. It provides a proven data pipeline in-vehicle and cloud architecture that can reach any number of end devices in the car. This addresses the complex software-driven systems found in modern cars, which benefit from detailed monitoring and frequent fine-tuning with eSync, as it is possible for fixes and enhancements to be made without having to call the car in for service. eSync also provides a way for OEMs to monitor and analyze how their in-car software is working on the road. Automotive-specific OTA solutions like eSync will not only save the industry billions in recall costs, they will also help meet consumer needs and demands for increasing digital technology within the car. Tomorrow’s autos will have more autonomous driving and navigating features; more sophisticated entertainment, voice-command and active noise-control systems; more complicated emissions control or charging management features; more sensors; and more advanced communications options. The computing power required will be exponentially greater—as will be the need for fine-tuning or resolving problems after the sale, and the desire for feature updates down the road. The alliance was formed through a global network of co-operating companies including major automotive suppliers such as Alps Alpine, Faurecia, Hella, Molex and ZF. Alliance members benefit from a simplified development environment, enabled by the standardization of architecture, functional behavior and APIs. This makes deployment faster and easier, and provides end-to-end security for automotive OEMs and suppliers. Members of the eSync Alliance have access to the up-to-date specifications, as well as opportunities to attend plug fests and demonstrate compliance of their products, while charter and promoter members can also participate in workgroups and contribute to the development and future roadmap of the specifications. Membership is open to all companies, including OEMs, Tier-1s, software and hardware vendors, and cloud service providers. A 10-page synopsis of the new v2.0 eSync specification is available for free download at the eSync Alliance website. This article was originally published on Embedded. Nitin Dahad is a correspondent for EE Times, EE Times Europe and also Editor-in-Chief of With 35 years in the electronics industry, he's had many different roles: from engineer to journalist, and from entrepreneur to startup mentor and government advisor. He was part of the startup team that launched 32-bit microprocessor company ARC International in the US in the late 1990s and took it public, and co-founder of The Chilli, which influenced much of the tech startup scene in the early 2000s. He's also worked with many of the big names - including National Semiconductor, GEC Plessey Semiconductors, Dialog Semiconductor and Marconi Instruments.

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