Design and Evaluation of a Reconfigurable ECU Architecture for Secure and Dependable Automotive CPS

Bikash Poudel, Arslan Munir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The next generation of automobiles integrate a multitude of electronic control units (ECUs) to implement various automotive control and infotainment applications. However, recent works have demonstrated that these pervasively computerized modern automobiles are susceptible to security attacks that could compromise the physical safety of the driver and/or passengers. In this paper, we propose a novel ECU architecture for automotive cyber-physical systems (CPS) that simultaneously integrates both security and dependability primitives in the design with negligible performance, energy, and resources overhead. We implement our proposed ECU architecture on Xilinx Automotive (XA) Spartan-6 FPGA. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed architecture using a steer-by-wire (SBW) application over controller area network (CAN) with flexible data rate (CAN FD) as a case study. We also optimize and implement a prior secure and dependable automotive work on NXP quad-core iMX6Q SABRE automotive board. We quantify the performance, energy, and error resilience of our proposed architecture for the SBW case study. Results reveal that our proposed architecture can attain a speedup of 47.9× while consuming 2.4× lesser energy than the optimized SABRE board implementation of security and dependability primitives. We further perform a comparative analysis of prior designs and the proposed ECU architecture for different in-vehicle networks, viz., CAN, CAN FD, and FlexRay. Results verify the feasibility as well as the superiority of the proposed ECU over other prior designs in terms of response time, energy efficiency, and error resilience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8543663
Pages (from-to)235-252
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Automotive
  • cyber-physical systems
  • dependability
  • ECU
  • FPGA
  • multicore
  • reconfigurable architectures
  • security
  • steer-by-wire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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