AutoTrust: Designing a Human-Centered Trusted, Secure, Intelligent and Usable Internet of Vehicles

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Sch of of Electronics and Computer Sci


Vehicles are increasingly connected, to each other (vehicle-to-vehicle), to the underlying road and service infrastructure (vehicle-to-infrastructure) and, especially, connected to the people who use them, often via smart devices (vehicle-to-device). This emerging Internet of Vehicles (IoV) offers tremendous opportunities in transforming our transportation system. Real-time data about traffic allows more efficient traffic flows, increasingly autonomous vehicles promise greater safety and apps that seamlessly organise multi-modal journeys enable greener approaches to transportation, including car sharing or ride sharing schemes.

The IoV can be seen as a microcosm for the Digital Economy. However, a key element of the IoV, often overlooked, is the citizen that should be central to the system and the prime motivator for its development. In such an approach, the IoV is focused around the needs of the individual to connect, in person, with a range of entities from families to colleagues to services, where physical distances must be overcome in timely ways to enable these connections. The foundation of the IoV is also, like the web economy more generally, founded on personal data. Data sharing on the Internet is used mainly as a currency in the sense that it could be replaced with money. Within the IoV, however, personal data is far more mission critical to the efficacy of the entire system: using personal travel plans enables improved traffic flows; storing relevant medical records on a vehicle allows better on-scene support during accidents, and learning a driver's interests and routines creates the opportunity for giving relevant contextual information. While this promises better safety, reduced carbon and increased travel efficiency, the IoV's reliance on personal data is also potentially its Achilles' heel. Large-scale sharing of data is constantly shown to be vulnerable to massive identity thefts (eg Sony's user database being hacked) & infrastructure threats (Stuxnet worm). Furthermore, connected devices themselves can be vulnerable to repurposing (eg Mirai DNS Denial of Service attack).

The challenges to design an IoV that is human-centered and as effective and efficient as imagined are complex and multidisciplinary. Our team brings together the best, cross-cutting group of experts in intelligent automation and services, safety and security and human computer interaction research. Our approach is to use the platform to develop the UK's IoV thought leaders of the future by having them lead rapid, agile and responsive pilot projects that are co-created with our social science, legal and industrial partners who are committed to work with us from co-creation through co-design to technical and policy translation. In particular, the Platform approach allows us the flexibility necessary to connect this robust interdisciplinary expertise through our network to appropriate stakeholder groups to co-create and rapidly prototype and pilot ideas both for scientific and applied insights of value across our DE communities.

To guide this co-creation, we have developed four x-cutting research strands, vital to framing a human-in-the-center IoV: services, interaction, automation and security. For example, open research challenges include: what is the least amount of personal data required to run a service/infrastructure safely? Can this balance be dynamically responsive to detected risk situations? How can greater transparency of data-use help incentivise citizen participation where personal data is required? How to design agents and interactions to intelligently assist both citizen and service to negotiate data use agreements so people will not feel the need to fake the system to protect their privacy? By using this platform to support interdisciplinary research leadership towards co-creation and delivery of novel, human-centered approaches to the IoV, the UK will lead IoV design to support better quality of life for all.

Planned Impact

This platform will enable an internationally leading step change in our ability to create a successful, trusted and resilient Internet of Vehicles (IoV). This result will be achieved by an unprecedented consolidation of expertise within the field of cyber-social systems because of our dual site approach between Warwick and Southampton.

A strong assumption of this bid is that, unlike approaches that split research into discipline-specific, siloed work packages, a new way of working is needed that brings disciplines much closer together, blending them within close-working teams to develop each member into a multi-disciplined deep-generalist researcher. This platform grant will enable us to do this, creating a new path for others to follow if it is successful.

The platform will create impact in the short term by involving industry, policymakers and citizens from the start in identifying key human-cyber IoV research challenges and addressing them within the scope of the platform. This will be done through RF-led workshops, which we have used successfully in previous projects and which involve stakeholders and citizens through a process of co-design: citizens are not simply informed but act as co-contributors with our partners to test approaches with the goal to deliver technology that empowers them.

However, considerable impact will be achieved beyond the timescales of the platform, through follow-on grant applications, by building a national network of leading IoV researchers and by informing future research.

More specifically, the key beneficiaries of this platform are the following:

INDUSTRY: We will help industrial partners design solutions for the IoV that are robust, resilient and trusted by users. By empowering users and engendering trust in the IoV, this will also increase participation and enable services that use accurate data from users where this is mutually beneficial.

POLICYMAKERS: We will identify key challenges that currently face the IoV and this will help in the development of future policies to both safeguard the privacy of citizens, but also to enable the benefits to be reaped from future IoV systems.

CITIZENS: When implemented successfully, the IoV promises more efficient, cleaner and safer transportation for all. Our work will address obstacles that are currently impeding its progress. Citizens will not just benefit from a successful IoV, but the platform will enable this to be done in a manner that is safe, secure and empowers citizens to own and control access to their own data.

EARLY-CAREER RESEARCHERS: The RFs working on the platform will learn important research skills, including managerial and bid-writing skills, and this will enable them to become future leaders of the field. Some of our RFs will eventually move to other institutions or organisations. This will help them pursue independent research careers while also establishing a national network of IoV experts far beyond the initial two host institutions of this platform.

ESTABLISHED RESEARCHERS AND WIDER ACADEMIC COMMUNITY: The exploratory and high-risk research carried out within this platform will define a research landscape and agenda for the IoV, and this will give rise to more specialised follow-on grant applications in the future. Some of these will be led by the investigators involved in this platform, but our work will also set the agenda for colleagues at other institutions, both nationally and internationally.

A strong assumption of this bid is that, unlike approaches that split research into discipline-specific, siloed work packages, a new way of working is needed that brings disciplines much closer together, blending them within close-working teams to develop fine-grained, multi-disciplined researchers. This platform grant will enable us to do this, creating a new path for others to follow if it is successful.


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