RIT creates an open-source space to protect self-driving cars

Local News

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – Cars are quickly getting closer to automation with vehicles that do the driving, but with advancing technology comes advanced cyber-attacks. A new research center at RIT is working to protect your car’s computer.  

Nearly 90 percent of crashes are from human error. As we get smarter cars, we get less crashes. According to RIT professor of computer sciences Hanif Rahbari, the best way to do that is to get cars working together. 

“Vehicles are supposed to rely on each other’s information to make decisions,” said Rahbari. 

Just like a busy highway, organized with vehicle to vehicle, or V2V communication, can mean a smooth ride; until it’s not. With a threat for malicious data like a hack could cause major problems. For example, telling a car there’s no traffic jam when there is. “The vehicles have to be able to trust each other,” said Rahbari. 

“We have to think about how the system looks now,” said Geoffrey Twardokus, an RIT graduate research student. “How attackers are going to see that system, what they’ll break, and then how we want to modify our system to defend against that.” 

He is working with the open-source test bed at RIT in a new facility that is part of the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. The facility could one day be used by corporations like Toyota or General Motors. 

“We want them to be able to take an example from what we’ve done and either use our equipment or be able to get their own equipment, and use the software base that we’ve developed, and do their own experimentation without having to go out and form all those corporate partnerships and what not that could take quite a long time to do.”  

 The whole project within the computer sciences department is sponsored by the Department of Defense. They hope to complete the building in March of 2021. 

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