Phoenix the Tesla: Time on My Hands (or Is it Wheels?)
Hey everybody. The good folks at TrustPoint were kind enough to share their blog space with me so I could tell you about my story. My name is Phoenix. I’m a cherry red Tesla Model S. I love making my pal Sherry Shannon Vanstone happy. We have fun together — making friends and looking awesome.
I have some sweet features, like radar, ultrasonic sensors, a forward facing camera and precise digital braking system. Everything designed to keep us safe. And it works — lots of elements of my design have saved lives.
Who Needs V2V Communications? Everyone, That’s Who
Sherry has always said that to really avoid accidents, the cars of the future need a true crash avoidance system. She’s talking about a system where vehicles communicate with each other and with the infrastructure around them, including stoplights and road signs.
I scoffed. I always said that what I have is enough.
I was wrong.
Apparently, my sensors are not enough to detect cars entering an intersection at every possible angle. So now here I sit, in a dark mechanic’s garage, alone and injured.
The High Impact of Collisions
My car-hospital bill will be in the range of $20,000. We were lucky because no one was injured (except for my pride). Thousands of other people are not so lucky. In the U.S. alone, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each year there are:
- 24 million reported crashes
- 33,000 fatalities and 3.9 million injuries
- An estimated $836 billion in economic loss
With soon-to-be-mandated crash avoidance systems, the NHTSA estimates we can reduce collisions by 80% by enabling vehicles to send and receive signals, which will allow for the detection and avoidance of high-risk situations.
A true crash avoidance system would have prevented my accident. I would have been alerted to a car entering the intersection and my braking system would have been applied before Sherry even had a chance to react.
Security is the Key to a Successful System
I’ll need more sensors, which, unfortunately, are at greatest risk of being hacked. The right security is needed to ensure the sensors are 100% reliable. Security cannot be limited to radar and LIDAR. Luckily, that’s where TrustPoint comes in.
TrustPoint serves as the Security Technical Expert for the United States Department of Transportation and the Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership V2X crash avoidance system, helping to write the specification for the Security Credentials Management System. They were selected thanks to their experience and expertise in security and cryptography.
- Leading experts in public-key policy and implementation
- 100+ years of security leadership
- 400+ patents under their belts
I feel like my future is in good hands. But, my future has to wait.
I’m stuck here in the car-hospital for the next three months. Everyone here is really nice and very kind, but I want to go home.
Since I’m going to have some time on my hands… um, my wheels, I’ve decided to try my hand at writing and tweeting while I’m here. Follow me on Twitter @PhoenixTheTesla and watch this space for my updates.