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RMIT Research to Enhance Cyber Resilience in Autonomous Cars

RMIT University is a partner in SELFY, a new European research project aiming to make digitally connected vehicles safer. Approximately 50 million connected and autonomous cars are expected to be circulating in Europe by 2026 as part of a Cooperative Connected Autonomous Mobility (CCAM) ecosystem in which road users interact not only with each other but with other elements of the transport infrastructure.

While CCAM is seen to improve the coordination of road traffic, for example by providing real-time data about driving conditions or upcoming congestion on the motorway, increased digital connectivity attracts a heightened risk of malicious assaults on the system. This includes cyber-attacks or cyberterrorism events that could not only disrupt mobility but cause harm.

Thus, the SELF-assessment, protection & healing tools for a trustworthY and resilient CCAM, or SELFY for short, were developed. It is a European-funded research collaboration between project coordinator Eurecat and RMIT since their partnership began in May 2021. As an associated partner in the project, RMIT will co-supervise a researcher alongside the Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt in Germany.

The Research Director of the RMIT University Centre of Cyber Security Research and Innovation (CCSRI), School of Computing Technologies, stated that the University will contribute with expertise in artificial intelligence techniques to detect cyber-attacks in large-scale distributed systems.

Meanwhile, SELFY will develop collaborative tools aimed at increasing the security, protection and resilience of the CCAM environment against cyber-attacks or malicious actions, for example by detecting vulnerable vehicles and security breaches.

Following the successful validation of the tools in the laboratory, the project team will build three scenarios in realistic, controlled environments to demonstrate their performance and effectiveness.

As European regulations begin mandating cybersecurity certificates for digitally connected vehicles, the research team expects the toolbox to be adopted by various traffic and infrastructure management organisations, providing self-awareness, self-resilience and trust among road users.

Tari will work on SELFY, whose formal kick-off took place in July, alongside Professor Ibrahim Khalil, Associate Professor Fengling Han and Dr Shabnam Kasra Kermanshahi from RMIT’s School of Computing Technologies. The project consortium includes 16 partners from eight countries including Australia, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Japan and Turkey.

Recent research shows that the global autonomous car market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 31.3% and reach US$11.03 billion in the forecast period of 2021-2028. In 2020, the market was valued at US$ 1.45 billion.

This growth in the market can be attributed to the speedy development in sensor-processing technologies, adaptive algorithms, high-definition mapping, and the placement of infrastructure-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-vehicle communication technologies are reassuring numerous corporations to magnify their manufacturing capabilities and navigate vehicle automation to an elevated level.

The National Transport Commission of Australia’s Automated Vehicle Program Approach (2020) outlines the nation’s current automated vehicle reform program, including its purpose, work completed to date, further planned reforms and interaction with other agencies. The document will receive regular updates as work progresses.

Currently, several, parallel reforms are being developed to achieve end-to-end regulation for automated vehicles. Transport ministers have already agreed to several key policy decisions, including:

  • who is legally in control
  • the development of a purpose-built national driving law
  • safety at market entry (first supply).

The federal government is currently implementing the agreed first supply recommendations from the Safety assurance system for automated vehicles project as well.

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