Various communication systems are available in modern vehicles, from automotive to aerospace applications, and most of these vehicles are becoming more connected. Whether it is Wi-Fi on a commercial airplane, Bluetooth in a car, or GPS and other connectivity and communication systems in marine and rail applications, chances are there are loopholes where cybersecurity threats can penetrate.  Last year, a researcher was able to hack an aircraft control system through the entertainment system1.  Car hacking has been reported 2, 3 but also criticized as difficult and almost impossible4.  

By Phillip Krein

There have been dozens of articles (with varying levels of information and opinions) on the recent highly publicized fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S operating in a beta-testing auto-pilot mode[1].  Given the complexities and imperfections of any transportation devices or system, this type of tragic accident must be treated as an essential learning experience.  Long before this news, people have been asking members of the TEC about autonomous transportation and how to prevent any accidents.  Here are four comments, perhaps to provoke more thought about this:

by:  Charles Kim, Howard University

Around 30 years ago, a social scientist investigated various organizations regarding the various risks they are exposed to in relations to public safety and classified them by two criterias: how complex an organization is and how each part of the organization is coupled together.  He placed the organizations into 4 quadrants. Among these quadrants,quadrant 2 was high risk dangerous organizations and quadrant 4 included low risk organizations.   Aircrafts, chemical plants, space missions, and nuclear power plants were placed in quadrant 2 as tightly coupled nonlinearly interacting complex and safety-critical systems.   Motor vehicles were placed as single-goal agencies along with the post office in the loosely coupled linearly interacting quadrant 4. 

M. El Hariri, T. A. Youssef, Abla Hariri, Student Members, IEEE and O. A. Mohammed, Fellow, IEEE
Energy Systems Research Laboratory, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA

The evolution rate of the power industry is increasing year after year. Over the past decade or two, this progress has been culminated by the emergence of the concept of Smart Grids, which is seen as a power system with real-time communication and control capabilities between energy providers on the one hand and energy consumers on the other. This modern power system model allows facilities to adopt new technologies and consumers to perceive new services. Utilizing communication technologies, the smart grid topology allows optimization of energy usage based on several factors including environmental, price preferences, and system technical issues [1]. The term Smart Grid may refer to large systems with large number of interacting energy production sources and energy consumption components. However, the same real-time communication and control capabilities can be applied to smaller scale systems such as Microgrids. The Department of Energy (DoE) defines a microgrid as “a group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources within clearly defined electrical boundaries that act as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid” [2].

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