Software Defined Vehicles (SDV) – Changing Vehicle Cybersecurity

This article was written by Jhenu Subramaniam, Cybersecurity Solutions Architect at Tata Technologies.

Automotive OEMs are constantly pushing the boundaries to combine safety and sustainability with customer convenience to realize the dream of connected, autonomous, shared mobility and electric vehicles (CASE). The industry is witnessing a revolutionary shift as the acceptance of software-defined vehicles (SDVs) grows and software is placed at the center of vehicle functionality. This evolution delivers enhanced safety, comfort and connectivity for a richer, more personalized driving experience. Unlike traditional vehicles, which are functionally defined in hardware, SDVs can be updated over-the-air (OTA), allowing continuous enhancements and the addition of new features and security measures without the need for physical changes. Is possible. The SDV market is expected to reach USD 210.88 billion by 2032, highlighting the opportunity for OEMs to transform the automotive industry.

Moving to SDV has multiple benefits, including simplifying vehicle architecture and reducing manufacturing costs. These improvements are made possible by optimizing electrical and electronic layouts and employing high-performance computing (HPC) to eliminate outdated wiring and electronic control units (ECUs). This technology leap forward will accelerate innovation in the development of connected, intelligent and self-driving electric vehicles. Additionally, the introduction of vehicle operating systems and open API interfaces will enable manufacturers to develop new revenue streams through the provision of additional services. SDV also improves the driving experience through regular software updates and the use of cloud-based virtual target units (ECU to HPC) for software development and validation tools to bring new vehicle features to market. We also promise to reduce the time it takes.

The shift to SDV has changed the cybersecurity landscape from one focused solely on physical components and basic electronic interfaces to one that addresses a broader range of digital threats. SDVs can consist of more than 100 million lines of code, and their complexity and integration into the Internet of Things (IoT) expose them to a variety of cyber threats. These include data breaches, remote hijacking, and vulnerabilities that affect software updates and vehicle sensors. Open APIs, backend systems, SDV customer privacy and connected devices also require a robust cybersecurity framework that covers both hardware and software aspects.

Striking the balance between ensuring robust security measures and maintaining user privacy becomes an important issue that requires careful consideration. This change requires a comprehensive approach to security that focuses on the entire ecosystem, including vehicle software, data privacy, and secure communication channels. These significant challenges are further exacerbated by the lack of skilled professionals who can effectively implement and manage SDV cybersecurity measures.

In response, automakers are adopting software industry best practices such as DevSecOps and closed-loop security processes that integrate security early in development. The vision of turning vehicles into “computers on wheels” includes deploying real-time software updates to quickly address vulnerabilities. Advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms are being utilized to effectively predict and prevent security breaches. Continuous monitoring and rapid response to security incidents are critical to protecting both vehicle and user data from unauthorized access and misuse, and ensuring compliance with privacy and data protection regulations.

Looking ahead, Accenture estimates that revenue from digitally enabled services in the automotive sector will grow to USD 3.5 trillion by 2040, highlighting the importance of SDV. The path to realizing the full potential of Software Defined Vehicles depends on successfully navigating the complex landscape of vehicle cybersecurity. It requires a multifaceted strategy that incorporates security by design, thorough defense protocols, continuous risk management processes, and a comprehensive cybersecurity management system at the business level.


The automotive industry is being redefined by vehicle cybersecurity, rapidly moving towards software-defined vehicles that enhance user security and data privacy. This change will ultimately usher in a new era of automotive excellence and digital intelligence.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author and do not represent the Times Group or its employees.

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