Wireless Security and Key Management for Positive Train Control Systems

Wireless Security and Key Management for Positive Train Control Systems

The first 49 CFR 236.1033-compliant solution on the market: LILEE Systems Solution for Wireless Security and Key Management  In 2008, the United States Congress mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) for most passenger and freight trains. Forty-two railroads are subject to the statutory mandate to implement PTC. Railroads are required to have PTC fully implemented by December 31, 2020. The Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ACSES) is a vital overlay system which, in combination with automatic train control (ATC), constitutes one of two major PTC systems and has been implemented by the Northeast Corridor (NEC) passenger rail operators. As of today, all NEC operators face major challenges associated with obtaining viable solutions for secure wireless communication to comply with the PTC requirements of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Originally, the NEC implementation of PTC lacked two major requirements—wireless link security and interoperability. The FRA reports that software issues related to these two requirements are the biggest roadblock. Fulfilling these mandates requires research and development, implementation, integration, and testing and commissioning (T&C) of an authentication and integrity check method and an interoperable key management technique. LILEE Systems is the first vendor to offer a complete solution that meets and exceeds all the security and interoperability requirements and that provides the best path to meeting the December 2020 PTC deadline. Security challenges that must be addressed From the regulatory perspective, the challenge is how to comply with requirements for wireless security as defined in 49 CFR 236.1033. This regulation requires that all wireless communications between the office, wayside, and onboard components in a PTC system provide cryptographic message integrity and authentication. The problem,...
Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) will be the first step in autonomous driving

Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) will be the first step in autonomous driving

In 2018, the Taiwanese government started to test the autonomous rapid transit (ART) concept through proof-of-service trials. Thousands of people experienced a 9-meter autonomous bus on a fixed bus route in Taichung, the second largest city in Taiwan, with a speed of up to 30 km/h. ART opens a new possibility of autonomous driving and will enable the first commercial use of the automated transit. Beginnings The early-stage business case for autonomous cars was based on a belief that computer-controlled cars will reduce traffic congestion and accidents by eliminating human errors. Unfortunately, technology has yet to demonstrate driverless cars’ ability to respond to a real-world traffic challenge. Technology giants and automotive industry continue to promise solutions, and the availability target is moving further and further into the future. At the beginning, unmanned personal cars on the road would likely do more harm than good to the already worsening urban traffic. Besides, building an autonomous vehicle from scratch is expensive. When required sensors and autonomous driving systems are added to a new $30,000 car, the final price can easily reach $130,000.  Purchasing an autonomous car might not be realistic until required technology cost can be lower. In the end, city governments and the public still struggle to justify the real benefits of driverless cars, resulting in the delay of adoption. Safety LILEE Systems’  ART concept comes from the railway industry and is based upon rail-safety principles. Autonomous buses run on a virtual track, monitored by a centralized operational control center in real time with a fail-safe system. That means, each action taken by the autonomous bus has to be confirmed...
Why Smart Cities need private wireless networks

Why Smart Cities need private wireless networks

Several cities have already built private wireless networks as part of their Smart City and public transit initiatives. When seeking to support autonomous buses and traffic congestion control, a private wireless network brings ultra-reliable, very low-latency connectivity–an essential that is still missing from cellular carrier networks.   Yes, Private wireless networks are the thing  Today’s communication technologies are not suited for the challenges of next-generation, automated transit. Based on unlicensed frequency ranges, common Wi-Fi (802.11) is well suited to day-to-day business communications. But because it is contention-based, Wi-Fi offers only limited reliability and mobility–key factors for success in mission-critical operational and business applications.  LTE and 4G networks present an alternative to Wi-Fi. Companies including Qualcomm, Nokia, AT&T, and Ligado, are still selling the idea of private LTE networks. Yet, building private LTE networks for utilities, cities, and manufacturing facilities has proven to be very expensive and complex to deploy, operate, and maintain.   It is still not common to see private wireless networks, but this is starting to change. Technologies that support private wireless networks and do not depend on Wi-Fi or cellular are being used when efficiency, safety or profitability depends on ultra-reliable, low-latency connectivity.  An example of successful private wireless network implementation is Port of Los Angeles, which aims to use its network to better track the millions of shipments it handles each year.  What do you get with the private wireless network? One critical benefit of the private wireless network is ultra-high reliability to prevent costly–and often dangerous–downtime. Mission-critical applications require ultra-robust communications without downtime. Predictable performance is another major benefit and demand of mission– and business–critical applications. Consistent high data rates and very low latency with fast and secure roaming are common application demands for connected machines, applications, and workers. High mobility enables advanced applications to run on mobile assets with fast and secure handovers even at the high speeds. Ultra-low latency adds the ability to support even the most demanding command-and-control applications.   What are the private wireless network applications? Industrial-grade private wireless solutions can help cities increase next-generation automation, ensure safety and security,...
5G: Hype or Reality?

5G: Hype or Reality?

5G: Hype or Reality? The Super Bowl is the biggest U.S. sporting event of the year, but it’s also the biggest advertising event. This year, Verizon and T-Mobile launched their 5G offerings at the Super Bowl. While Verizon explained 5G capabilities, T-Mobile joked about a nation-wide 5G network. With other carriers (AT&T and Sprint) being absent, the takeaway is that U.S. 5G rollouts are underwhelming and there is no point investing in 5G devices at this point.   5G promises It’s believed that 5G will be a huge boost for the economy — bigger even than 4G LTE and the mobile app economy that it enabled 10 years ago. Yes, 10 years ago. It takes time to achieve availability and maturity, and the cellular cycle we observe is about 10 years. Countries around the world are competing for 5G global leadership. In order to deliver on promises, massive amounts of new radio spectrum (5G NR)  must be allocated. For example, the FCC is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to Facilitate America’s Superiority in 5G Technology (the 5G FAST Plan).   What do you get with 5G? The answer is that it really depends on the spectrum used. It may get too technical for the typical consumer at this point, but for IT professionals this knowledge is essential. They are three different radio frequency (RF) spectrum ranges that could be used, and every range has different advantages and disadvantages. Low-band, sometimes called Sub-1GHz band, is the band formerly used for television broadcast but now primarily used for 3G and LTE in the U.S. This low-band spectrum affords a very wide coverage...
Why Video-Based Safety? 

Why Video-Based Safety? 

Why Video-Based Safety?  This year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported a 2.4% decrease in fatal motor vehicle crashes, extending an overall downward trend in road fatalities in 2018, even with more recorded miles driven. On the other hand, when the data are broken out, it’s clear that the trend is not universal across all transportation modes.  Road fatalities involving large trucks, defined by the NHTSA as vehicles with gross vehicle weight over ten thousand pounds and including buses, increased. We can point to at least three reasons that could contribute to the divergence:  Vehicles themselves – Compared to cars, the absolute number of bus accidents is extremely low; however, buses do not always have the same level of protection (e.g. seat belts) that passenger cars do. Buses are more prone to rollover risk. If a serious accident does occur, injuries tend to be more severe.  Drivers – For transportation providers and public transit agencies, the driver is still the first and perhaps only line of defense. Despite stringent training programs, research still points to human error as a primary cause of accidents in public transit. Common reasons for motor vehicle safety issues include distracted driving, alcohol-impaired driving, speeding, improper vehicle operations and road rages. Increasingly, cabin distractions, including direct threats on drivers are also a factor. Once buses leave the terminal, operators do not have tools to understand conditions affecting safety.  Technology differences – The NHTSA points out that vehicle improvements, like electronic stability control, have contributed to overall declines in road fatalities in cars. More recently, “automated technologies” such as automatic lane departure, collision avoidance alerts, adaptive cruise control and automatic braking have become widely available on cars. These technologies are designed to counteract distracted driving and errors in judgement and may account for continuing declines in fatal accidents in automobiles.  Preliminary...
Positive train control could have prevented train accidents

Positive train control could have prevented train accidents

One year after the Puyuma Express train derailment October 21st marks the one-year anniversary of the tragic Puyuma Express train derailment in Taiwan’s’ Yilan county. 18 people were killed, and 215 were injured. The direct cause of the accident was found to be speeding in a curve while the train protection system (ATP) was wrongfully disabled. This fatal accident was a stark reminder that a vast improvement in Taiwan’s train safety is critically important. Last Thursday, Taiwan’s legislator Chen Man-li proposed to the Ministry of Transportation and Communication and Taiwan Railways Administration that a train control system with remote monitoring and controlling capabilities, such as Positive Train Control (PTC), should be added to existing and new trains to prevent future accidents. Most train accidents are caused by human error In the U.S., there were almost 2,000 train-related accidents in 2018, higher than the previous two years, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. In 2017, there were 1,855 significant railway accidents in the EU, according to the European Union Agency for Railways. Looking back at past train accidents, the great majority of them have been resulted from human factor causes. Positive Train Control could have prevented these accidents LILEE Systems was founded when the industry, government and people resolved to create a system that would prevent train accidents due to human error. After the 2008 Metrolink crash in the Chatsworth district of Los Angeles, a federal mandate required railways that carry passengers and certain hazardous materials to implement Positive Train Control (PTC). As of July 2019, 91% of Class I PTC route-miles are operational in the U.S. LILEE Systems has...