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Resilient Smart Cars
Often when people talk about a future with autonomous vehicles, someone invariably will say, “But what happens if an attacker hacks into my car’s system and causes an accident?”
With a five-year, $503,000 CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, Andrew Clark, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is working on how to prevent just such an attack.
“This project is growing out of the realization that it’s not going to be feasible to keep attackers out of smart systems.” says Clark, “We need cyber resilience so we can keep the car and passengers safe even when an attacker is in the system.”
The researcher is looking to build defenses into both the lower-level systems of a smart car, such as a real-time controller, and the higher-level … think intelligence and planning algorithms.
If, for instance, a hacker taps into a driverless car and tells it that a vehicle ahead is 50 feet away, but the camera and other sensors indicate that vehicle is only 10 feet ahead, Clark’s update will act upon a larger group of sensors to keep the vehicle safe.
His algorithms will also work to choose a route between Point A and Point B that is less crowded with pedestrians and vehicular traffic to minimize risk if the car comes under a hacker attack.
Clark hopes to make smart cars a smidge smarter, indeed.