November 11, 2010 -- Atmel Corp. today announced the release of a complete immobilizer protocol stack, based on the AES-128 cryptography standard, under an open-source license.
Since immobilizer devices are part of nearly all Remote Keyless Entry/ Passive Entry Go systems today, interoperability between IC suppliers and true peer-reviewing of the achieved security strength becomes extremely important. Atmel has decided to release its immobilizer protocol stack under an open-source license to allow all industry stakeholders to review and contribute within a defined legal framework.
"By offering open-source capabilities, a variety of semiconductor manufacturers, tier 1 suppliers and car manufacturers can now contribute to improve the protocol while maintaining interoperability between suppliers," said Nicolas Schieli, Senior Marketing Manager for Car Access Products, Atmel. "Even more, additional features can be added by other corporate contributors to address application-specific requirements under the same license terms."
The Atmel AES-128 immobilizer protocol stack is the first open source stack to allow interoperability between different semiconductor vendors. With current conventional solutions, the necessary communication protocol layers are closed-source or patented, which prevents car manufacturers from adopting multi-vendor sourcing strategies. This convention method also leads to lock-in situations that are counterproductive when quality problems arise.
The immobilizer protocol stack defines all necessary layers from the physical level to the AES crypto-engine on a key fob and basestation devices. The physical layer is based on FDX (full-duplex) which is widely used by all established IC manufacturers for backward compatibility. This also makes it possible for most existing base stations and key fob devices to seamlessly support this protocol stack.
In addition, the high configurability of the protocol stack enables all critical parameters to be optimized towards specific-application requirements. Indeed, an authentication scheme (single or mutual authentication), challenge and response lengths, data rate and modulation, number of secret keys, AES computation time can all be configured to allow optimal turn-around time versus minimum coupling factor for a given application. The protocol also specifies key learning processes that can optionally use an additional transport key to further secure the supply chain. This mechanism allows for encrypting the initial "pairing" communication between the key fob and vehicle, which takes place at the car manufacturer line.
KPIT Cummins, a global product engineering solutions supplier with CMMi and Automotive Spice development processes, provides a production-ready implementation of this protocol for all new Atmel RKE/ PEG device families released 2010. All AVR-based RKE and PEG devices from Atmel come factory-programmed with the high quality implementation of the protocol.
The protocol definition document is available upon request (free registration) on the Atmel web site to any requestor without discrimination. The open source license is included in the definition document.
Go to the Atmel Corp. website to find additional information.