MSUToday
Published: Oct. 13, 2017

MSU teams with German auto firm to address cybersecurity in autonomous vehicles

Contact(s): Patricia Mroczek College of Engineering office: (517) 432-1303 mroczekp@egr.msu.edu, Andy Henion Media Communications office: (517) 355-3294 cell: (517) 281-6949 Andy.Henion@cabs.msu.edu

As the automotive industry adopts more autonomous features, the potential for cybersecurity threats in vehicles and between vehicles is on the rise.

ZF, a German auto parts maker, has turned to the Michigan State University College of Engineering with the goal of developing new methods for easing these future threats.

Betty H.C. Cheng, professor of computer science and engineering, will work with ZF to address automotive cybersecurity and safety issues by creating a cybersecurity method to help identify, mitigate and/or prevent threats to automotive systems.

ZF executives visited campus Oct. 5 and brought a $50,000 check to get the project started.

“We’ll develop a set of reusable design patterns and quality assurance techniques that are amenable to automated analysis,” said Cheng. “In other words, we’re going to put artificial intelligence to work to improve functionality and safety requirements in new and existing automotive designs.”

The research will target advanced driver assistance systems, along with connected and automated driving systems. Part of the funding will support a graduate assistant during the project.

“We will leverage our previous experience with design patterns for autonomic systems, real-time embedded systems and security for enterprise systems,” said Cheng. “Our extensive work in automated analysis of high-assurance systems like on-board automotive systems, NASA space shuttle software, two-way radios and cellular networks will help us to deliver acceptable and safer outcomes.”

Barbara Czerny, left, an MSU grad and senior technical specialist at German auto parts maker ZF, and Brian Murray, ZFs safety director, will collaborate with MSU engineering researcher Betty H.C. Cheng to improve cybersecurity safety for autonomous vehicles. Contributed photo

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