In June 2015, two “security researchers” remotely took control of a Jeep Cherokee while it was traveling at 70 mph on a U.S. highway. The hackers used the car’s entertainment system, which was connected to the mobile data network, to manipulate critical functions such as steering and braking.
This hacking incident and the subsequent recall of 1.4 million vehicles by Fiat Chrysler served as a wake-up call for the automotive industry to take connected-car security more seriously.
In Japan, Trillium Secure Inc. already was working on security solutions designed to stop car hackers. The company, founded in 2014, recognized the threat hacking posed to the coming automotive IoT mobility revolution.
“Limitations of the electronic devices and the network in connected cars create a complex cybersecurity design challenge,” says David Uze, Trillium’s president and CEO. “We embarked on a mission to develop a comprehensive, dynamically updatable cybersecurity solution that presents would-be hackers with multiple barriers.”
In 2017, Trillium transitioned to become a U.S. company, establishing its new headquarters in Silicon Valley. The company is now building out a Midwest Design Center in Michigan that joins design locations across Asia and Europe.
Venture investors at this year’s Michigan Growth Capital Symposium will learn more about Trillium’s innovative technology and expansion plans when it makes a formal presentation at the event.
“Our operations in Southeast Michigan put us in the epicenter of the U.S. auto industry,” says John Davis, director of Midwest business operations at Trillium. “To meet customer demand, we plan to have approximately 30 people in the region at full strength. A number of factors ─ the automotive ecosystem, activities around cybersecurity, talent pool, research opportunities, proximity to connected car development and testing sites in Mcity and the American Center for Mobility, and the support of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation ─ made Southeast Michigan the ideal location.” Trillium also is leveraging the resources of Ann Arbor SPARK and the PlanetM Landing Zone in Detroit.
At the symposium, Trillium will introduce its vehicular security service suite, which solves the major problems that cybersecurity poses for auto makers, insurance providers and fleet owners.
“Our cybersecurity as a service platform, SecureIoT, provides commercial and public fleet operators with proactive fleet security and real-time access to authenticated telematics data,” Davis explains. “SecureIoT enables safe and secure operation of fleet assets for the lifecycle of the vehicles.”
He continues, saying: “We believe the MGCS presents Trillium with a great opportunity to connect with investors tied into the transportation ecosystem in anticipation of our Series B round of funding. Strategic investors are one of the critical conduits to quickly reaching security and connected-services stakeholders at fleet owners, telematics service providers, insurance carriers and automotive OEMs.”