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Drone cybersecurity to be tested in mixed-reality urban setting in UAE-US partnership

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A mixed-reality simulated urban environment will be built to test drone cybersecurity in a partnership between an Abu Dhabi-based technology company and a renowned US university.

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The United Arab Emirates’ Technology Innovation Institute (TII) is partnering with Purdue University, embarking on a three-year research project that will examine the security of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in urban operations.

UAVs are vulnerable to cyberattacks that target their communication, navigation, surveillance, and control systems, according to a statement from TII.

“We are optimistic that the research outcomes at TII’s Secure Systems Research Center will allow us to gain the upper hand in the fight against these malicious attacks,” said Dr Shreekant Thakkar, Chief Researcher at TII’s Secure Systems Research Center.

Researchers will analyze the cybersecurity of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and develop algorithms to improve it. They will test improvements in a mixed-reality simulated urban environment.

Thakkar added: “[The partnership] will enable commercial autonomous drones and robots growth in the UAE and worldwide, opening new opportunities to enterprises and making their use safer for all people.”

The project is led by Purdue’s Dr Inseok Hwang, a professor at the university’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

“This landmark project comes at a time of growing reliance on UASs across various sectors – from security to medicine and logistics, and everything in between,” Dr Hwang said.

“We are confident that our partnership will translate into global wins for the international community and lead to many more research milestones in the years to come,” he added.

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