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Behrouz Poustchi: Mobility Industry’s Only In-vehicle Real-time Fault Tolerant Driver Assistance

Our “deep tech” solution is the mobility industry’s only in-vehicle real-time fault tolerant driver assistance and cyber-defense offer for all vehicles (in market, combustion, EV/AV/hybrid) and similar robotic systems.

Tell us about yourself?

I’ve always been in a technical and development role. Early on in my career I learned about the benefits and appeal of fault tolerance to resiliency and availability. Initially it was with traditional telephony (Nortel), then to peer-to-peer telephony (Nimcat Networks, sold to Avaya), and then applying it online gaming, with a pivot to automotive real-time cybersecurity and advanced driver assistance (Akimbo Technologies). I am convinced that our approach will be the missing component in providing automatic immediate assistance to people as they go about their lives in their vehicles.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

I would remind myself that perseverance pays off, that managing expectations (yours, and of others) is critical, and that the power and output of a capable and professional team (even a small one) cannot be underestimated.

What problem does your business solve?

Our “deep tech” solution is the mobility industry’s only in-vehicle real-time fault tolerant driver assistance and cyber-defense offer for all vehicles (in market, combustion, EV/AV/hybrid) and similar robotic systems. We augment the approach taken so far (cloud-based validation) and over-the-air delivery of the “fix” delivered well after (days/weeks/months) the attack is detected.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

As I thought about it, it became apparent to me that the approach the automotive industry had taken so far to both cyber-defense and driver safety was incomplete. I knew that applying what I know well (fault tolerance) to these issues would result in a unique, compelling, and elegant solution. Many industries benefit from this technical approach (telecom, aeronautics, military, etc.) but not personal and commercial vehicles (yet). In addition, our approach needn’t apply to all applications and services in a vehicle, just the critical ones, or indeed perhaps just a critical subsystem. Regardless, we deliver the immediate detection, correction, and healing of the issue regardless of whether it was triggered by a cyberattack or a component failure. Vehicle drivable, occupants safe, all in real-time.

What is your magic sauce?

In a nutshell, our solution functions real-time, in-vehicle, without the need of a cloud connection. Therefore, we don’t suffer from the delays inherent in cloud-based approaches. Plus, we deliver significant cost savings to the OEM, and help master “the last mile” to comprehensively addressing the security and safety needs of vehicles of all types.

In fact, the way our solution works is that we provide redundant sources of certain critical automotive functions (for example, 4 wheel steering), and if there is a problem (cyberattack or component failure), we can move the responsibility for that application to another ECU (car computer). And this is all done as the vehicle is being driven, and the occupants may not even be aware of it.

But we are. And we can send it to the cloud for further analysis and to see if other vehicles might be in danger. But, let’s realize what we are doing. We are changing the architecture of the vehicle, “as it is being driven”. This means that it makes it very difficult for an attacker to fulfil their attack.

Why? Because the first thing an attacker needs to do is know what a vehicle’s architecture is, and then figure out how to exploit it. Our solution makes this very difficult, and also means that my car will likely have a different architecture at any given point in time as your car, even though you are driving the same model from the same car company from the same year.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

We aim to provide the in-vehicle solution that the mobility embraces to help safeguard all next gen vehicles while supporting the macro trends of electrification and autonomous driving.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The biggest change we’ve had to make so far was pivoting from online gaming to in-vehicle cybersecurity and driver assistance two or three years ago. Now that we’ve done that, we know we are well done the path to the helping the mobility industry achieve “security and safety by design”.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We know that both the OEMs themselves, and the tier suppliers they heavily rely on all help propel the innovation and advancement of the entire industry. So regardless of whether you’re involved with vehicles described as with combustion engines, hybrid, electric, or autonomous power, we can help. We are interested in engaging with both tier suppliers and OEMs themselves.

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