Cloud computing, huge potential! That’s what the automation, automotive, and robotics industries are all excited about.
So, what is cloud computing and how does it affect safety?
Cloud computing utilizes servers on the internet to process, store and manage data. There is a much longer NIST definition for cloud computing if anyone is interested. The basic concept is to allow access to vast computing resources from anywhere and by anyone. Endless possibilities exist because this model simplifies collaboration and theoretically allows access to vast amounts of data. It is also seen as a platform where various robotic systems can connect to work together. Factory robots can have continuous access to data that lets them to continuously fine tune production processes to be more efficient.
Autonomous cars can use the cloud data as they navigate accessing voluminous amounts of navigation data. The Google self-driving car already uses maps and images collected by satellites and stored on the cloud.
If the correct safeguards are not put in place, the problem is that hackers can also access “vast amounts of computing power” and data. Safety systems in factory robots could be maliciously overridden and cause personal injury or even loss of life. Manufacturing could be disrupted by varying process parameters. This has been theorized and proven by multiple studies that have shown how simple it is to “take ownership” of a robot and do something malicious, with robots that already have a huge installed base.
Cars could be provided erroneous data from the cloud causing crashes that could result in the loss of life. Imagine a hacker with access to cloud computing power!
This is where exida can provide value by performing Safety and Security audits. Safety and security are very much codependent for a complete safety solution. Outcomes of the audits lay the groundwork for a robust security and safety architecture.