Securing Software Updates for Automobiles


2010: A predecessor technology of Uptane, The Update Framework (TUF), which secures software updates on repositories, is introduced in an academic research paper, coauthored by Justin Samuel and Justin Cappos.

2013: Cappos, along with Trishank Kuppusamy, and Vladimir Diaz begin adapting TUF for Python, Ruby, and environments used for cloud computing. Kuppusamy, a Ph.D. student at the time, will later use this experience on the Uptane project.

2015: NYU Tandon receives a grant (with Cappos as PI) from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to begin work on a project to secure software updates on vehicles. University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute(UMTRI) and Southwest Research Institute(SWRI) receive a similar grant to work on automotive security.

2016: Uptane is created when a consortium of researchers at UMTRI, SWRI, and NYU Tandon begin developing Uptane, using the basic TUF design as a starting point.

2016 The research team also begins a series of workshops (organized by Andre Weimerskirch at UMTRI) at which OEMs (original equipment manufacturers, ie. the auto companies), suppliers, and representatives of government agencies meet to review and comment on the work in progress, and an online forum, where issues could be raised and discussed. Both of these steps help to ensure alignment with the intended market.

2016: Uptane: Securing Software Updates for Automobiles is presented at escar 16 by lead author Kuppusamy. This marked the first presentation of the project to an academic audience.

2017: Uptane is officially introduced at press events in Ann Arbor, MI, and Brooklyn, NY.

2017: Advanced Telematic Systems (ATS), now HERE Technologies, becomes one of the first suppliers to publicly acknowledge adoption of Uptane when it integrates the framework into two of its OTA solutions, OTA Plus and ATS Garage.

2017: Uptane is named one of the year’s most important innovations in security by Popular Science.

2018: Airbiquity receives a BIG Award for Business in the 2017 New Product of the Year Award category for its Uptane-based OTAmatic over-the-air software and data management solution.

2018: An open source, C++ implementation of Uptane called aktualizr is developed by Advanced Telematic Systems (since acquired by HERE technologies). aktualizr is integrated into Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a collaborative open source project in which automakers, suppliers and technology companies work together to advance the development and adoption of a fully open software stack for the connected car.

2018: NYU Tandon School of Engineering becomes an associate member of the Linux Foundation and a Bronze member of AGL on the strength of the Foundation’s adoption of Uptane and TUF projects.

2018: The Uptane Alliance, a nonprofit entity organized under the umbrella of IEEE’s International Standards and Technology Organization is formed. As an ISTO supported organization, the Alliance will oversee the setting of standards for the implementation/deployment of Uptane, as well as the advancement and improvement of the technology itself.

2019: The IEEE/ISTO standardizes the version 1.0.0 of the Uptane specification.

2019: The Uptane Alliance joins the Linux Foundation’s Joint Development Foundation, giving a pathway for ISO standardization of future versions of the specification.

2020: The Uptane standard working group releases version 1.0.1 of the Uptane standard with minor corrections. Because of the organizational move to the Linux Foundation’s Joint Development Foundation, this cannot be formally released as an update to the IEEE-ISTO standard. However, it should be considered as an errata/patch release updating the content of that standard.

2021: The Uptane Standard working group releases versions 1.1.0 and 1.2.0 of the Uptane standard.

2021: Uptane releases its first whitepaper: Uptane: Securing delivery of software updates for ground vehicles.