Introducing the First Virtual Conference for Product Security - Left to Our Own Devices: The Conference.
Introducing the First Virtual Conference for Product Security - Left to Our Own Devices: The Conference.

The Impact of UNECE R155 on Global Vehicle Safety Standards

The Impact of UNECE R155 on Global Vehicle Safety Standards

Despite applying to automotive cybersecurity in only WP.29 participating countries, the UNECE regulation has set the stage for automotive industry compliance around the globe. This regulation, aimed at streamlining global vehicle safety standards, creates a baseline for all connected electronic components within a vehicle. 

It’s not just a set of guidelines, but a comprehensive framework incorporating Cybersecurity Management Systems (CSMS), which can include advanced vulnerability management practices and managingSoftware Bills of Material SBOMs for those who want to catalog and maintain what’s within their software-embedded devices. The regulation recognizes the critical role of digital security in safeguarding our vehicles and, by extension, our roads.

As exciting as this advancement is, it feels long overdue by some in the industry. As we’ve seen in recent reports, the industry has relied on shaky cybersecurity footing, often relying on outdated components, vulnerability-filled software, and a list of CWEs that are enough to overwhelm any product security team. Thankfully, today’s automotive realities haven’t stopped the industry from embracing new regulations and pushing forward to achieve their Vehicle Type Approval (VTA) and sell vehicles through the UNECE’s 54 member countries– without it, the vehicle will be removed

Elevating the standard of product security is not just another bureaucratic hurdle. It’s a significant stride towards ensuring global road safety with far-reaching implications, affecting manufacturers, consumers, and regulatory bodies. 

Understanding UNECE R155

What is UNECE R155?

UNECE R155 is a regulatory framework set by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. It’s designed to enhance vehicle safety by setting rigorous standards for cybersecurity and data protection in connected and automated vehicles.

Mapping WP.29 CSMS Requirements to the ISO/SAE 21434 Standard

UNECE R155, in its essence, is a transformative regulatory framework that insists on the integration of a CSMS, which is a systematic approach to managing vehicle cybersecurity risks. This includes defining a cybersecurity policy, conducting risk assessments, and implementing protective measures. The framework’s emphasis on SBOMs is equally vital, ensuring transparency in software components and aiding in efficient vulnerability management. 

This regulation is pivotal in an era where cars are not just vehicles but data centers on wheels.

Importance of UNECE R155 in Vehicle Safety

The UNECE R155 goes beyond traditional safety measures. It’s a forward-thinking approach that acknowledges the risks posed by cyber threats and data breaches in modern vehicles. 

The regulation’s requirement for a comprehensive CSMS underscores its forward-thinking approach. A CSMS not only helps identify and mitigate risks but also facilitates collaboration and information sharing among different teams. This collaborative environment is essential for effective vulnerability management, a core component of the regulation.

By mandating robust cybersecurity protocols, UNECE R155 ensures that vehicle safety evolves alongside technological advancements.

UNECE R155's Impact on Global Road Safety Standards

Compliance Challenges and Benefits

Adopting UNECE R155 presents a complex challenge. It requires automakers to establish a full-fledged CSMS, integrate SBOMs for transparency in software sourcing, and develop robust vulnerability management protocols. Automating these processes, especially in vulnerability management and SBOM updates, is crucial for effectiveness and efficiency. Despite these challenges, the benefits are substantial, including enhanced security, improved customer trust, and a stronger defense against cyber threats.

International Adoption of UNECE R155

The global adoption of UNECE R155 is a testament to its effectiveness, with non-participant countries watching eagerly to understand how they can extract key aspects of the standard and apply it to their local regulations. 

It’s a clear step taken by countries worldwide who recognize the need for stringent cybersecurity measures in vehicles. This widespread adoption not only elevates road safety standards but also harmonizes them across borders, facilitating international automotive trade and cooperation.

Explore automotive regulations in our Center for Automotive Cybersecurity Regulations

Automotive Industry Compliance

Ensuring Vehicle Safety

For the automotive industry, compliance with UNECE R155 is non-negotiable. 

It involves product security, PSIRT, and other critical teams to implement a CSMS that not only identifies and addresses vulnerabilities but also facilitates their management and communication across teams. This system ensures that vulnerabilities are not just detected but also effectively managed and resolved.

Meeting UNECE R155 Regulations

Compliance with UNECE R155 is a continuous process. It demands a centralized platform which offers ongoing vigilance, regular updates, and a commitment to cybersecurity excellence, specifically within the automotive space. Manufacturers must adopt a proactive stance, continuously evaluating and enhancing their cybersecurity measures while generating regular documentation that is machine readable and ready to share.

The Road Ahead for Road Safety Standards

The future of road safety standards is intertwined with technological advancements and needs a dedicated platform to enable a more secure future.

Embracing UNECE R155 is about creating a future where road safety is defined not just by physical parameters but also by digital security. The integration of CSMS, SBOMs, and a thorough approach to vulnerability management under UNECE R155 is essential for building this future.

Embracing UNECE R155 is not just about compliance; it’s about commitment to safety in an increasingly digital world. It’s a collective effort towards safer roads and a testament to the automotive industry’s dedication to protecting its consumers.

UNECE R155 is a milestone in automotive regulations, signifying a shift to a more holistic view of vehicle safety that encompasses both physical and digital realms. The incorporation of CSMS, SBOMs, and comprehensive vulnerability management practices are pivotal in this shift. As the automotive industry continues to evolve, embracing these standards will be crucial for ensuring the safety and security of vehicles on our roads.


What are the compliance challenges faced by vehicle manufacturers?

Meeting the WP.29 standards requires a full product security approach. This means manufacturers and their suppliers must begin managing SBOMs, and vulnerabilities, and preparing to share their findings. While many people are on board, the lack of automotive-specific options requires Chief Product Security Officers (CPSOs) to string together multiple tools and dedicate resources to ensure they are operational while dedicated personnel review vulnerabilities to triage and prioritize them. 

With an automated system, such as the Product Security Platform, companies can bring together information from across departments and have a centralized location to review, manage, and approve their product security operations. 

Are there any benefits to adopting UNECE R155 standards?

Yes, the benefits include enhanced vehicle safety, increased consumer trust, and a reduction in cyber-related incidents, which are crucial for receiving Vehicle Type Approval (VTA) and being granted permission to sell vehicles on the market. 

Which countries have adopted UNECE R155, and how does this impact global road safety?

Many countries, especially those in Europe and Asia, have adopted UNECE R155. The standardization of cybersecurity practices across the industry enables more effective communication that can be used to discover, mitigate, and manage vulnerabilities at a scale that was previously unobtainable.

How can companies ensure compliance with UNECE R155 guidelines?

Companies can ensure compliance by integrating product security procedures into every stage of vehicle design and production. With every adoption, teams should update SBOMs, conduct audits, and stay updated with the latest security technologies and threats.