Unmanned aerial vehicles that deliver packages to customers and robots that assist surgeons in cardiac surgery have become an increasingly prominent part of smart cities in our ever-evolving age of technology. These innovations are known as cyber-physical systems (CPS). Cyber-physical systems are systems that seamlessly integrate the computational component (e.g., embedded processor) and physical components (e.g., human body or smart grids).
Cyber-physical systems have real-time requirements. Since these systems are ultimately human-dependent, reliability and efficiency are imperative as deadline misses may result in economic losses or even fatal consequences.
Researchers within the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering are working on designing secure real-time cyber-physical systems (RT-CPS) that are less complex, easier to analyze, and more reliable for critical application in domains including, but not limited to: defense, medicine, transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture.
Tam Chantem, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is leading the efforts in this project for Virginia Tech. The three-year award totaling $1.2 million, seeks to design secure real-time cyber-physical systems from the ground up. Ryan Gerdes, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is working with Chantem on these efforts.
Chantem articulated, Essentially, we want to design and build cyber-physical systems that can automatically adapt to unknown changes and usage scenarios. This research will pave the way for real-time cyber-physical systems and internet-of-things (IoT) to be implemented with confidence while guaranteeing their timely and correct operation.
Chantem continued, Since cyber-physical systems now permeate most aspects of our daily lives, especially in the smart city and internet-of-things context, this research will lead to improved trust in automated systems and quality of life of users. Our research aims to increase the appetite for automation, which will help to stimulate the economy and create jobs.
Outside of the impacts of this research to the Virginia Tech community in the short-term, this project will create outstanding opportunities for undergraduate students in all engineering disciplines, interactive learning modules, and internship experience for K-12 students in Washington, D.C., Detroit, Dallas, and St. Louis.
Written by Greg Atkins