Vehicle Security

Contact Information

Robert W. Heller, Ph.D.
Program Director
Embedded Systems Security
(210) 522-3824

image: car with vehicle security attached

Conceptual diagram illustrating SwRI’s malware detection research project.

image of wireless communication research

SwRI’s automobile test track.

Multi-Disciplinary Capabilities

Vehicle and embedded systems security is an inherently inter-disciplinary domain. Most organizations offering security services are focused on information technology (IT) or have expertise in only hardware, software or communications. Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) takes a holistic approach to vehicle security and has staff with experience in all relevant areas, to include:

  • Wired and wireless networking
  • Embedded hardware
  • Embedded software and application software
  • Security technology
  • Vehicle systems

Related SwRI Expertise

  • Vulnerability analysis
  • Penetration testing
  • Security risk assessment and best practices
  • Design-for-security consulting
  • Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) research
  • Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) research
  • Autonomous vehicle research
  • Requirements analysis, design, prototyping, integration, testing
  • Consumer, commercial, military, and off-highway vehicles
  • National and international standards-based development
  • CMMI Level 5® software engineering processes

A History of Vehicle Work

Since its inception in 1947, SwRI has dedicated extensive resources toward serving the automotive industry. Today, more than 1,000 SwRI employees work on automotive-related projects. SwRI provides client-confidential test and evaluation services for the automotive industry worldwide.

Automotive Consortium for Embedded Security™

As vehicles become increasingly dependent on computers to operate integrated systems, from engine timing to anti-lock brakes, it is crucial to safeguard systems from outside threats. To investigate leading-edge technologies and understand and reduce the risk of attack, SwRI has formed the Automotive Consortium for Embedded Security™ (ACES).

The joint industry program aims to provide pre-competitive and non-competitive research in automotive embedded systems security to protect the safety, reliability, brand image, trade secrets and privacy of client members’ future products.

For more information, visit the Automotive Consortium for Embedded Security™ web page.

SwRI Facilities & Resources

Research facilities on SwRI’s grounds include an automobile test track, drive-in shielded RF chambers, and state-of-the-art dynamometers with computer-based control systems that regulate vehicle speed, which enables in-place testing while vehicular systems can perform as they would on the open road.

  • Headquarters on more than 1,200 acres instrumented with dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) radios, signage, and representative obstacles
  • Embedded Systems Security Research and Test Laboratory
  • One-mile automobile test track
  • Drive-in shielded radio-frequency (RF) chambers
  • 200 state-of-the-art dynamometers with computer-based control systems
  • More than 2 million square feet of laboratories and offices
Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.