Vehicular Networks

Vehicular Networks

When encountering unusual behavior while driving, such as engine stalls or veering to one side, our immediate assumption is typically a mechanical issue with the engine, transmission, or steering mechanism. Rarely do we consider the possibility that our vehicles could be hacked, despite the fact that modern cars are essentially computerized systems on wheels. With a multitude of computing elements, extensive sensor networks, miles of cables, and a substantial amount of code running them, cars have become susceptible targets for hacking. This enables unauthorized access for purposes such as theft or remote control of driving functionalities. Unfortunately, ECE Professor Sandip Ray points out that the broader cybersecurity community remains largely unaware of the magnitude of the cybersecurity risks associated with vehicles.


Collaboration with WAM Systems Lab

Dr. Sandip Ray’s team at the Warren B. Nelms Institute for the Connected World collaborates with Dr. Janise McNair and Dr. Swarup Bhunia from the ECE department, as well as Dr. Wanli Xing from the UF Department of Education. Together, they are leading a $500k project supported by the National Science Foundation’s Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program. The project, “An Integrative Hands-on Approach to Vehicular Security Education,” aims to enhance awareness of cybersecurity risks in autonomous vehicles. The collaboration with Dr. McNair and her team will contribute significantly to the development of technology, materials, exploration platforms, and training modules that help the community understand and defend against potential attacks on autonomous vehicles.

Goal of the Project

The project’s goal is to train a cybersecurity workforce for autonomous vehicles. Currently, there’s a shortage of skilled personnel in this area. Security assurance for autonomous vehicles is ad hoc, leading to missed vulnerabilities and quick but potentially flawed patches. This lack of systematic cybersecurity attention becomes a national security problem for transportation infrastructure. The project will create skilled leaders versed in vehicular security principles to combat these issues as we add more electronics and autonomy to vehicles. Our ability to deploy safe autonomous vehicles depends on addressing this challenge.