NXM tests IoT technology for Mars mission

  • July 7, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson
Photo: Nasa, and JPL-Caltech, MSSS

California-based NXM Labs is using technology that can protect the Mars rover to prevent hackers from gaining unauthorised access to commercial, industrial, medical or consumer IoT devices.

NXM Autonomous Security was tested in collaboration with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and California Institute of Technology (Caltech). It demonstrated the ability of its technology to enable future Mars rovers to defend themselves automatically and recover from cyber attacks. Caltech manages JPL on behalf of Nasa.

NXM’s engineers worked with JPL’s artificial intelligence, analytics and innovation division along with the Robotic Surface Mobility Group in Pasadena, California, to integrate the company’s software with the navigation and ground control systems of JPL’s self-driving Athena test rover.

During testing, NXM’s software successfully detected unauthorised attempts to gain access to the rover’s autonomous navigation systems, automatically protecting the vehicle from harm in real time without impacting normal driving operations.

Tests showed that NXM’s platform was capable of securing millions of devices with virtually no impact on network latency and can operate up to 1000 times faster than other decentralised platforms previously tested by the US Department of Defense under simulated battlefield conditions.

“NXM’s technology is game-changing,” said Lt General Harry Raduege Junior, CIO for the North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Space Command. “NXM provides a new layer of cyber security that enables unified command and control, as well as data interoperability, providing an unprecedented capability that we have long sought but until now wasn’t possible.”

Raduege serves as an advisor to NXM.

The Athena test rover was developed by JPL as part of Nasa’s HPSC high-performance spaceflight computing programme to develop computing technologies with vastly more capabilities than current spaceflight computers. JPL engineers harnessed the computing power of the rover’s off-the-shelf Nvidia Jetson edge AI platform to develop machine-learning applications for future Mars rovers. This includes artificial intelligence software that identifies objects of scientific interest as a vehicle traverses the Martian terrain, using vision-based navigation and path planning software to increase the driving distances of energy-limited rovers.

“We’re thrilled to have collaborated with Nasa JPL to show how our security can protect critical assets in space as well as here on Earth,” said Scott Rankine, NXM’s president. “Our unique zero-trust and zero-touch security software is chip and cloud agnostic, enabling device manufacturers and their component suppliers to easily and cost-effectively develop the industry’s most trustworthy products that can be deployed rapidly and remain secure for their entire operating lifetime.”

NXM Labs provides security for embedded devices that enable commercial, industrial and consumer products to defend themselves automatically and recover from cyber attacks. NXM offers a zero-trust and zero-touch product development software platform designed to streamline and automate security management throughout the entire OEM supply chain and product lifecycle.