Perrone Robotics, Inc. (PRI) recently completed a series of tests with Mission Secure Inc. (MSI) and the University of Virginia School of Engineering (UVa) to better understand the vulnerability of automated vehicles to cyberattacks. PRI supplied one of their autonomous ground vehicles, “Tommy Jr.”, originally fielded for participation in the DARPA Urban Challenge in 2007. Tommy Jr. is a Scion xB vehicle, modified to run in a fully autonomous capacity. Tommy Jr. self-navigates city and suburban streets alike, plans routes, follows said routes, operates at intersections, avoids collisions with vehicles along the way, implements follower and collision avoidance modes of operation, self-parks, etc. Since the time of the DARPA Urban Challenge, PRI has further advanced its underlying software technology to execute even more sophisticated and refined autonomous features. PRI currently leverages its software technology in the automated operation of vehicles for use in testing advanced collision avoidance technology at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
PRI’s Tommy Jr operated as the “hapless victim” during an attack on its controls by MSI and UVa. PRI worked with MSI and UVa to expose weaknesses in autonomous vehicle systems with Tommy Jr as a “reference architecture” for said systems. Upon hacking its speed control functions via a key fob attack, Tommy Jr was overtaken and induced to collide with a soft target. MSI’s Secure Sentinel technology to detect and foil such attacks was demonstrated.