An Efficient and Secure Automotive Wireless Software Update Framework

Marco Steger, Carlo Alberto Boano, Thomas Niedermayr, Kay Romer, Michael Karner, Joachim Hillebrand, Werner Rom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Future vehicles will be wirelessly connected to nearby vehicles, to the road infrastructure, and to the Internet, thereby becoming an integral part of the Internet of Things. New comfort features, safety functions, and a number of new vehicle-specific services will be integrated in future smart vehicles. These include a fast, secure, and reliable way to remotely install new software on its integrated electronic control units. Such wirelesssoftware updates are beneficial for both automotive OEMs and customers, as they allow to enable new features on the vehicle remotely and to fix software bugs by installing a new software version over the air. A secure and dependable wireless software update process is valuable in the entire lifetime of a modern vehicle as it can be used already during vehicle development and manufacturing process on the assembly line, as well as during vehicle maintenance in a service center. Additionally, future vehicles will allow to remotely download up-to-date software on the electronic control units. To support this process over a whole vehicle's lifetime, a generic framework is needed. In this paper, SecUp, a generic framework enabling secure and efficient wireless automotive software updates is proposed. SecUp utilizes IEEE 802.11s as wireless medium to interconnect vehicles and diagnostic devices in a dependable and fast way. Additionally, SecUp is enabling beneficial wireless software update features such as parallel and partial software updates to increase the efficiency, and comprises advanced security mechanisms to prevent abuse and attacks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2181-2193
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Automotive systems
  • Generic framework
  • IEEE 802.11s
  • SecUp
  • Security concept
  • Wireless software updates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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