Shaunak D. Bopardikar, an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will use a five-year $500,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award to create an integrated research and education program that will focus on the pressing need to make mobile dynamical systems, including autonomous vehicles, resilient – guaranteeing that they achieve their promised benefits, even under sensing, communication, and control attacks.

The envisioned benefits of autonomous vehicles (also called agents) such as self-driving cars and delivery drones are reduced roadway fatalities and congestion, and efficient last-mile delivery. However, the race to achieve autonomy in modern and future vehicles can make the vehicles increasingly susceptible to attacks on their sensors such as the onboard Global Positioning System (GPS) and the underlying control systems. Through the proposed research, Prof. Bopardikar plans to study the mathematical underpinnings of security problems arising in multi-agent systems and make these systems resilient to attacks. The educational plan includes creating a pool of activities based on innovative games related to attack resilience that will combine engineering and the arts for effective student engagement and personnel training. Outreach activities involving the public and law enforcement agencies will help shape future practices for root-cause analyses of security incidents and deter attacks.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the NSF's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.

Link to Dr. Bopardikar's CAREER award abstract