Taken For a Ride

Michael Whalen, program director, Software Engineering Center, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, talks about the need to fight security risks in our vehicles on the road and in the sky

Dr. Whalen will describe trends in vehicle automation in both aviation and automotive systems: drones and remotely piloted aircraft, adaptive cruise control, and eventually self-driving cars and self-piloted aircraft. As these systems become more complex and interconnected, security becomes a substantial risk. Previous attacks have demonstrated that it is possible to remotely take over, surveil, and steal cars and drones.

As part of a multi-organization project, the Critical Systems Group (CriSys) at the University of Minnesota used proof-based software engineering to develop a secure helicopter and drones. These vehicles successfully withstood cyber “attack teams” that were armed with source code and in-depth design and quality assurance data. In a new $20 million follow-on project, Dr. Whalen and his collaborators are trying to make this technology easy to deploy across a broad range of vehicles.

Michael Whalen, Program Director, Software Engineering Center, Department of Computer Science and Engineering


  • Format: Video
  • Length: 00:19:31
  • Release Date: June 19, 2018
  • Presenter: Michael Whalen

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