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Although emerging automation technologies are predicted to bring a range of benefits, their development also raises a wide range of concerns around safety and security and, in particular, the potential for disruption from cyber-attacks.
Autonomous systems include a wide variety of technologies – autonomous software and smart devices, as well as driverless vehicles, drones for delivery, environmental monitoring, robots operating in hazardous environments for search and rescue, and nano-bots for assistive surgery.
“Imagine a driverless car has its GPS signal jammed in a cyber-attack, causing it to go through a red light in rush hour traffic, and the chaos that results from all the other vehicles and pedestrians trying to avoid collisions,” explains Professor Neeraj Suri, the co-director of the Lancaster’s Security Institute, and the Principal Investigator leading a new research project. “Despite the attack, the autonomous car is still expected to keep its occupants safe and cause as little damage as possible to its surroundings. This is a complex situation that needs to balance technical decisions and understandings of human behaviors to realise an ethically acceptable action that is legally and regulatory compliant.”
A research node will look into key issues surrounding security as these technologies get used in an increasingly diverse range of applications. The research is designed to develop a game-changing approach to the security of networked Autonomous Systems in dynamic environments, according to miragenews.com. Working closely with Cranfield University as a partner institution, the project is supported by multiple external stakeholders including Airbus, BAE, Raytheon, Thales, UK Coast Guard, as well as a number of international bodies, including NATO.
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