Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Rajnikant Sharma


Rajnikant Sharma


Don Cripps


Rees Fullmer


Automated vehicles are getting closer each day to large-scale deployment. It is expected that self-driving cars will be able to alleviate traffic congestion by safely operating at distances closer than human drivers are capable of and will overall improve traffic throughput. In these conditions, passenger safety and security is of utmost importance.

When multiple autonomous cars follow each other on a highway, they will form what is known as a cyber-physical system. In a general setting, there are tools to assess the level of influence a possible attacker can have on such a system, which then describes the level of safety and security. An attacker might attempt to counter the benefits of automation by causing collisions and/or decreasing highway throughput.

These strings (platoons) of automated vehicles will rely on control algorithms to maintain required distances from other cars and objects around them. The vehicle dynamics themselves and the controllers used will form the cyber-physical system and its response to an attacker can be assessed in the context of multiple interacting vehicles.

While the vehicle dynamics play a pivotal role in the security of this system, the choice of controller can also be leveraged to enhance the safety of such a system. After knowledge of some attacker capabilities, adversarial-aware controllers can be designed to react to the presence of an attacker, adding an extra level of security.

This work will attempt to address these issues in vehicular platooning. Firstly, a general analysis concerning the capabilities of possible attacks in terms of control system theory will be presented. Secondly, mitigation strategies to some of these attacks will be discussed. Finally, the results of an experimental validation of these mitigation strategies and their implications will be shown.