• O2 completes Innovate UK-funded project looking at the cybersecurity vulnerabilities of connected and autonomous vehicles
  • Working with Cisco, Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick, and Millbrook Proving Ground, O2 has helped develop a blueprint to help protect the UK’s self-driving cars from cyber-vulnerabilities
  • The project comes at a critical time for the growing connected and autonomous vehicle market, as the industry is projected to be worth £28 billion by 20351

 O2 has completed a project funded by Innovate UK, the UK Government-funded innovation agency, and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) to support the development of cybersecurity testing capabilities.

O2 provided access to its technical subject matter experts during the 12-week-long Baselining, Automation and Response for CAV Testbed (BeARCAT) cybersecurity project, working alongside partners including technology company Cisco, Millbrook Proving Ground, and Warwick Manufacturing Group, the engineering, manufacturing, and technology department at the University of Warwick.

O2’s cybersecurity experts were responsible for determining the types of cyberattack and attackers that pose a threat to CAV networks2.  Their investigation focused on developing models that could be used to classify, manage, and mitigate cybersecurity risks for intelligent transport systems, which will be vital for ensuring the safety and security of road users in the future.

The security of the UK’s transport system has never been more important, and this will only increase with time as cyberattacks become more complex and sophisticated. One Cabinet Office report3 calculated that cybercrime costs the UK economy £27 billion annually, £21 billion of that to businesses, £3.1 billion to citizens, and £2.2 billion to the Government. Given the anticipated growth rates of the automotive cybersecurity market and the UK CAV market – estimated to be worth £28 billion in 20351 – project BeARCAT generated valuable insights into the risks and challenges of the deployment of connected and automated mobility in public areas.

The project, which was led by Cisco and conceived at Millbrook Proving Ground, a leading vehicle testing facility in Bedford, ran from 1 January to 31 March 2020. As a feasibility study, recommendations were put forward by the consortium to Innovate UK to form the basis of a future cybersecurity CAV test facility, which outlined the design, development, and trialling of the outputs of the phase 1 study.

This news follows the announcement in September 2019 that O2 would provide the connectivity for a new ‘Smart Ambulance’ at Millbrook Proving Ground as part of a trial to revolutionise patient diagnosis and early treatment, meaning that visits to hospitals are minimised as well as providing an improvement in clinical outcomes.

Brendan O’Reilly, CTO at O2 said: “If connected and autonomous vehicles are going to become a permanent fixture in our day-to-day lives, it will be critical that governments and the public feel reassured that this technology is secure from cyber-attacks. We’re proud to have worked alongside other sector leaders to create a cybersecurity blueprint that will help the UK lead the way when it comes to innovation in the intelligent transportation systems of the future.”

Peter Stoker, Chief Engineer – Connected & Autonomous Vehicles at Millbrook said: “BeARCAT has been a great opportunity to bring together sector experts over the course of this study: O2’s in-depth telecommunications knowledge, Cisco’s insights, and Warwick Manufacturing Group’s academic vigour all brought something new to Millbrook and our testing business. Looking to the future, it’s clear that the UK is well positioned to be one of the leaders in testing connected vehicles in a controlled environment.”

Professor Carsten Maple, Warwick Manufacturing Group and Principal Investigator of the NCSC-EPSRC Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research at the University of Warwick said: “BeARCAT has provided the Warwick Manufacturing Group with a fantastic opportunity to work with leading organisations O2, Cisco and Millbrook. The collaborative effort has led to us taking our research from the academic into the practical environment and allowed us to shape the future of automotive cybersecurity in the UK.”

Joel Obstfeld, Distinguished Engineer in Cisco’s Emerging Technology and Incubation Team said: “The BeARCAT project brought together expertise from key sectors to the CAV ecosystem. From the operational expertise of the O2’s cybersecurity experts, Millbrook’s experience in the testing environment, the academic research capabilities of WMG, to Cisco’s expertise in networks and security services, BeARCAT offers a great example of the cross-disciplinary thinking required to create a viable testing framework to address cybersecurity challenges for CAVs in the UK.”



1 Catapult Transport Systems, 2017, http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/media.ts.catapult/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/08094421/15780_TSC_Market_Forecast_for_CAV_Report_FINAL.pdf

2 The work of O2 experts during the trial involved examining cyberthreats posed to cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) networks and intelligent transport system at 5GHz (ITS-G5) network technology.

3 Cabinet Office, 2011, http://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/60943/the-cost-of-cyber-crime-full-report.pdf

Notes to editors: 

 Innovate UK and the CCAV partnered with Zenzic, formerly Meridian Mobility, to invest £1.2 million in 7 projects, including BeARCAT, as part of their Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Cyber Security Feasibility Studies competition.  

 The competition falls under the government’s £100 million CAM Testbed UK Fund, supporting the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, which was announced in 2017 to encourage and support extraordinary innovation in UK engineering and technology, making the UK a world leader within the transport industries. 

 Projects are testing and examining solutions to:  

  • Find ways to measure cyber-physical resilience and maintain cyber security for vehicles, roadside infrastructure and supporting services. 
  • Provide input specifications for one or more new cyber test facilities. 
  • Explore opportunities to develop new cyber related services. 

About Innovate UK 

Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas. 

We connect businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn ideas into commercially successful products and services and business growth. 

 We fund business and research collaborations to accelerate innovation and drive business investment into R&D. Our support is available to businesses across all economic sectors, value chains and UK regions. 

 Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation. 

 About Zenzic 

 Zenzic was created by government and industry to champion the connected and self-driving ecosystem and accelerate the self-driving revolution in the UK.  

 The company drives collaboration with partners across industry, government and academia to shape a world-class Testbed UK, and to deliver a comprehensive UK Connected and Automated Mobility Roadmap to 2030.  

 Zenzic is channelling £200 million of investment, with the goal of ensuring a safer, more inclusive and productive mobile future. 

 About the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) 

 The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles seeks to keep the UK at the forefront of the development and deployment of connected and self-driving vehicles through policy development, regulatory reform and joint investment with industry into R&D and testing facilities. 

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
Virgin Media
press enquiries
press enquiries