Airport security is something most people know well—queuing, removing shoes, emptying water bottles. Airport infrastructure cybersecurity, however, is a topic that is still evolving and one that is becoming even more important with the adoption of electric aircraft. To help protect airport infrastructure, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have reviewed the cybersecurity needs of electric aviation in a report titled “Addressing Electric Aviation Infrastructure Cybersecurity Implementation.” The report evaluates key cyber needs around electrifying aviation infrastructure and how stakeholders like airlines, utilities, equipment suppliers, and regulators may implement a cybersecurity approach. Although much is still unknown about designing systems for electric aircraft, and strategies could vary widely across the sector, the authors identified common approaches to secure infrastructure early in the design and procurement process. “This is the starting point for defining responsibilities and identifying potential vulnerabilities,” said Tony Markel, the report’s co-author. “This report can help decision makers plan how to implement cybersecure solutions regardless of the exact electrification strategy.” Airport electrification is one piece of the puzzle for what the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) calls advanced air mobility, which ranges from regional flight networks to holistic sustainability. The FAA funded the report as part of a partnership with NREL to better understand the electrical infrastructure needed to support advanced air mobility. Since the FAA regulates air transportation safety throughout the United States, the cybersecurity of incoming infrastructure is important.
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