- Charles Sturt University has secured Australian Research Council (ARC) project funding to safeguard unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-related technologies
- The Charles Sturt Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Futures Institute (AICFI) will collaborate with researchers at the University of Wollongong and the University of Southern Queensland
- The project aims to enhance the security of UAV technology, fostering reliable use in transport and logistics services to support Australian urban and regional communities
Charles Sturt University has successfully secured federal government funding to enhance the resilience of cybersecurity measures for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems.
The Charles Sturt Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Futures Institute (AICFI) has received funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) as a part of the Linkage Program for a pioneering research project titled ‘Robust defences against adversarial machine learning for UAV systems’.
The ARC grant is $445,000 with approximately $100,000 apportioned to Charles Sturt University.
The initiative is a collaborative effort between the AICFI, the University of Wollongong, and the University of Southern Queensland and aims to explore resilient cybersecurity measures for UAV systems to safeguard them against adversarial machine learning attacks.
The AICFI lead for this project is Dr Fendy Santoso (pictured, inset), Senior Research Fellow and Program Lead of Defence and Cybersecurity.
Dr Santoso will be responsible for implementing and evaluating countermeasures, to implement the defence mechanisms developed and integrate them with real-world UAV systems using datasets provided by the partner organisations.
“Once deployed on the UAV systems, the defence countermeasures will be evaluated in terms of their effectiveness and real-time performance,” Dr Santoso said.
“We intend to assess a wide range of UAVs. For example, fixed-wing UAVs, which are bigger and more sophisticated will be deployed in remote areas and highways. In comparison, rotorcrafts, and quadcopters, which are smaller with limited speeds, can be used in urban areas.”
Dr Santoso explained that UAVs play a pivotal role across national industry sectors such as logistics, environmental monitoring, smart farming, bushfire and disaster management, and more.
“However, the susceptibility of machine learning models on UAV systems to adversarial attacks poses a significant barrier to their widespread adoption,” he said.
“The project seeks to advance our understanding of cybersecurity by employing innovative approaches to fortify UAV systems against vulnerabilities in machine learning models.”
The project’s anticipated outcomes encompass refined techniques for developing robust machine learning models and an increased capability to design secure UAV systems.
These advancements will significantly enhance the security of UAV technology and foster reliable use in transport and logistics services to support Australian urban and regional communities.
“We look forward to advancing our collective knowledge in cybersecurity and contributing to the secure evolution of critical technologies,” Dr Santoso said.
“The AICFI is particularly proud to be contributing to technology development that will have significant benefit for regional futures.”
This research aligns with the Australian Government’s strategy to promote and protect critical and emerging technologies, strengthening Australia’s global position. The project commences in 2024.