Ford Motor Company has filed a patent for a non-reputable vehicle change history system that could be used in future Ford vehicles, Ford Authority has learned.
The patent was filed on April 11th, 2022, published on October 12th, 2023, and assigned serial number 0327882.
The Ford Authority Take
Over the past few years, hacking concerns and stricter emissions regulations have partnered up to make it more and more difficult to tune or otherwise modify new vehicles. In fact, the state of California began checking for tunes as part of its smog checks a couple of years ago, and while such modifications remain incredibly popular, vehicles like the all-new 2024 Ford Mustang are proving to be quite difficult to crack in that regard, at least without manufacturer support. It certainly seems as if there may come a time in the future when tuning a car is quite simply impossible, and this newly filed patent is further proof that future Ford vehicles may be far more difficult to tune, at the very least.
As this patent notes, modern vehicles and their complex software systems have made them more vulnerable to hacking, which necessitates strong security measures to prevent that from happening. In that sense, this patent – officially called the non-refutable vehicle change history system – aims to track component configuration using a central gateway, multiple ECUs, and vehicle buses, all of which would communicate with each other as software updates are applied.
The kicker here is that these software updates would be authenticated by the central gateway using a certificate method prior to their installation, and can only be applied if they in fact meet those requirements. The system would also keep track of any updates that are performed on the vehicle, as well as who did them – saving this information in a module that could be authenticated for forensic purposes. With many states adopting California’s emissions standards moving forward, it’s certainly possible that those entities could in fact gain access to this information – making it possibly even more difficult to get away with tuning vehicles in the future.