OSR’s Orit Shifman explains how to protect a car from attacks with AI and single digital control center



Orit Shifman, OSR Enterprises

Orit Shifman founded OSR Enterprises in 2011. Today, the company employs more than 100 people and has facilities in Israel and Switzerland (Photo: OSR)

Vehicle security is moving from the physical to the digital world in the era of the connected car and remote hacks of key car functions in recent years have proven the point. OSR Enterprises, based in Israel and Switzerland, believes the best approach to defend cars against attacks is a holistic, consolidated IT architecture that replaces an ageing vehicle technology characterised by a multitude of electronic control units (ECUs). OSR CEO Orit Shifman talked to automotiveIT about the third generation of the company’s Evolver platform. 

What exactly is Evolver and which auto industry problems does it address?

Evolver is a multi-domain artificial-intelligence (AI) brain for the car. We believe the car of the future will have to fall back on a single, digital control center. This would, among other things, end the waste of data that’s taking place in current architectures. The centralization of intelligence in the car also increases security. Current security concepts are doomed as long as there is no holistic control.

Which role does AI play in Evolver?

AI is deployed for the real-time analysis of data. Also, we are using algorithms to recognize anomalies that could compromise the security of the overall vehicle. With the help of deep learning, Evolver captures previously unknown threats.

Are you developing the AI in Evolver yourself or are you relying on the knowledge of partners?

We have 130 carefully selected employees in our company with an immense know-how in this area. On this basis, we have developed the entire hardware and software platform in-house from the ground up. In the area of cloud services, we agreed on a partnership with SAP last year.

Developers in automotive companies are used to systems that have existed for a long time. How big will the disruption be when they switch to something like Evolver?

Let’s be clear: Car manufacturers need to urgently move toward a centralized platform. Without centralized control in the car, you won’t be able to deal with the challenges of the future. To implement such a change, our approach is revolution through evolution. We provide developers with tools that allow them to change their hardware and software architecture and operate their own algorithms or software systems on the Evolver platform. That lets them make more effective use of their time and resources.

Doesn’t the risk to the car increase when you centralize the digital control structure and provide one, central point of attack?

There are many points of attack in the current vehicle infrastructure. If an attacker can enter the system through one entrance, he can quickly gain access to the rest of the vehicle. A centralized system like Evolver has better insight into the overall system. The car’s brain has to be capable of not just discovering attacks and malfunctions but preventing them as well. In current security models, the moment the system identifies a cyber attack it is often too late. Our AI systems can upgrade the vehicle with a proactive immune system.