SAE International Journal of Transportation Cybersecurity and Privacy

Special Issue on System Safety and Cybersecurity

Call for Papers

Safety has been a long-standing focus for the automotive industry. Modern vehicles include many features meant to enhance safety for operators, passengers, and vulnerable road users, like pedestrians and cyclists. However, whether a vehicle function is intended to enhance safety or just a vehicle performance function like braking or steering, its operation may have safety implications.

The safety of vehicle functions can be impacted by software failures, electrical/electronic hardware failures and mechanical failures, by complex and unexpected interactions with other functions (emergent behavior) or the environment, or by unauthorized manipulation (hacking). The automotive industry deals with safety reactively by addressing problems discovered in the field (e.g., by recalls) and pro-actively by working to anticipate potential safety issues and designing to avoid them.

The ISO 26262 standard defines safety as the absence of unreasonable risk. System safety is a systematic approach to identify behavior that leads to unreasonable risk, design systems to avoid unacceptable behavior, and analyze that this has been achieved and document the evidence.   
For the last two decades, the focus of automotive system safety has been functional safety, that is, an emphasis on identifying and mitigating dangerous failures in embedded systems, since small failures in embedded control systems can have a big effect on vehicle safety. However, increasingly, expectations are growing for a holistic approach that takes all failures, unexpected functional behavior, and cybersecurity into account. There are also increasing expectations for a closer coupling between pro-active safety measures and reactive safety measures, including cybersecurity incident response. This emphasis is driven both by growing sensitivity to the risks of modern transportation, as seen in the safety initiatives of many countries, and by the growing complexity of modern vehicles, which reaches a crescendo in Level 4 and Level 5 automated vehicles.

The aim of this special issue is to highlight some of the emerging issues and solutions in automotive system safety, especially as these relate to connected and autonomous vehicles and to cybersecurity.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Updates to safety processes prompted by ISO 26262 version 2, especially for semiconductor components
  • System and functional safety for ADAS and Automated Driving
  • Evolution of ASILs based on real-world feedback
  • Interaction between system/functional safety and cybersecurity engineering processes
  • Design rules and analysis of safety-critical machine learning systems
  • Worst case analysis of low-occurrence events in safety for automated driving
  • Safety case architecture for automated systems
  • Automated vehicle resiliency concepts for both safety and cybersecurity
  • Formal verification for functional safety and cybersecurity



For more information, please contact the Guest Editor:

Dr. Brian Murray
ZF Friedrichshafen

Deadline to submit manuscripts for consideration: December 31, 2020

Tentative publication date: March 31, 2021

Please submit your article at and include a submission note in Editorial Manager to indicate that it is for this special issue.