Moto OEMs Must Factor In Cybersecurity Protection: EU Regulators

Cybersecurity
As bikes like BMW's high-tech sport tourers add increasing levels of digital tech, they are going to be targeted by cybersecurity legislation. PHOTO CREDIT: BMW

Did you watch Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines? The one that had the female T-X cyborg that hacked vehicles on the highway, sending them on a murderous collision course with future resistance fighter John Connor?

Well—we can’t blame you if you didn’t see it, or don’t even want to admit that you saw it. But it appears that European regulators are worried about a similar hacking incident happening down the road with motorcycles. As a result, they say motorcycle OEMs must now start factoring cybersecurity into future bike development.

This tidbit of news comes from FEMA (Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations), which reports the following:

The UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) Working Party on Automated/Autonomous and Connected Vehicles decided to include motorcycles, scooters and electric bicycles with speed exceeding 25 km/h in the scope of the UN Regulation No. 155 on cyber security and cyber security management.

In force since January 2021, UN Regulation 155 is applied in various regions of the world and covers passenger cars, trucks, and buses. Its purpose is to offer an international framework for the type approval of road vehicles with regard to cyber security.

The reason for the move: With motorcycles packing increasingly more complicated techno-gadgetry such as adaptive cruise control and other systems that rely on vehicle-to-vehicle tech, the regulators see concern for potential damage to the transportation system, including motorcycles, their users and other motorists and their vehicles, if cyber-crime targets unprotected vehicles. FEMA also says the move comes as the automotive industry in general is looking to tighten cybersecurity protection, and that all vehicles with “digital elements” are going to have to come with “a risk-based identified minimum level of cybersecurity protection.”

The new rules for motorcycle OEMs will be approved at the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations in June 2024.

You might think that moto manufacturers would be unhappy about the added expense, but the industry did not seem phased, according to the quotes in FEMA’s write-up.

We are thrilled to share a landmark achievement for the motorcycle industry. The agreement adopted at UNECE (Working Party on Automated/Autonomous and Connected Vehicles) recognizes the importance of robust cybersecurity measures in a more digitalized world,” said ACEM, the European association of motorcycle manufacturers.

This regulatory extension reflects a collaborative effort in the industry, underscoring a shared commitment to rider safety and the ongoing advancement of two-wheeled vehicles. Furthermore, UNECE´s positive step aligns with global regulatory trends while setting a precedent for future advancements in the field, offering same level of cybersecurity protection for cars and motorcycles. This decision represents a testament to our commitment towards increased safety for riders and the progressive evolution of two, three and four-wheeled vehicles included in L-category.

In other words: Safety first, and as the moto manufacturers add increasing levels of safety tech, we now see that it comes with further strings attached.

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