Interesting Patents:
Tesla’s Encrypted Communications
Autonomous driving controller encrypted communications
U.S. Patent No. 10,994,841
Assignee: Tesla

About the Patent

This week Tesla was granted a patent regarding a means of secure communication for an autonomous driving controller and the sensors associated with the system. The system is a means of securely linking every sensor to the control module. Every sensor associated with the autonomous driving controller is equipped with a plurality of processors that make up a safety subsystem (SMS). Each of the distributed SMS maintains the same cryptographic key to communicate with each other, ensuring that the established communication link is secure. The control system can use its parallel processing system to decode and interpret all of the incoming data streams. These systems can also have the ability to share their data with other vehicles using the same SMS as well. With the ability for multiple vehicles to share their data a network can be organically formed of multiple vehicles within a given location to improve on the overall control and safety of each of the individual vehicles.

What The Invention Would do

Self-driving cars rely on massive amounts of data collection and processing to control the vehicle in a safe way for the occupant. It is crucial that the communication link between sensor data and the actual autonomous controller remain secure to ensure the safe operation of the vehicle. The implementation of the safety subsystems (SMS) on each sensor enables the system to more effectively process multiple streams of data. The decentralized SMS on the sensors interacts with a parallel processor in the controller where each processor is capable of handling a data stream. In this way, the controller can handle all of the data streams being collected by the sensors.

Why this patent is interesting

This type of communication system represents how complex modern vehicles really are. With so much innovation in self-driving cars systems like these are crucial to the operation and overall success of this type of vehicle. Cars, like many other of our devices, are becoming more and more saturated with computers that improve their performance and enable an overall more enjoyable experience. As this invention shows it’s not always about the systems you see that provide to the real operation of the car. This communication system will help ensure that self-driving vehicles remain safe and can fully rely on the sensor data being transmitted to them, providing the vehicle controller with the data it needs to get its passengers to their destination safely. 

Tesla Figure 1A

Written by John DeStefano, Technical Advisor
May 11, 2021

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