Drone Power Electronics Security
Today, small unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones are getting wide acceptance from different sectors, including public services, military, emergency response, and commercial applications. Lightweight, DC-powered vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drones show the most promise for future applications due to advantages like scalability and compact footprint. For instance, they can be used to find at-risk areas/communities for surveillance, transportation monitoring, package delivery, military reconnaissance, and information collection after a major disaster. Existing studies mostly cover securing communication channels between UAS and ground control unit, but one critical aspect of their operation—albeit very dangerous—is largely neglected so far: their power electronics hardware and software security. UAS are commonly built using widely available and inexpensive hardware and developed using open-source firmware, which enable tampering with their hardware supply-chain as well as compromising firmware update processes. Therefore, the primary objective of this study is to develop a drone power electronics testbed to understand security loopholes primarily in firmware that are used in different control systems of a UAS.
The project team members from FIELD are Aziz Ucer and Calvin Flack. Professor Travis Atkison from CS Department and undergraduate CS students Zach Weske and Stephen Sottosanti are the other UA team members. Prof. Kemal Akkaya from FIU also serves as an external collaborator.
You can find more information regarding the project progress in the below publications:
- M. A. Rahman, M. T. Rahman, M. Kisacikoglu, K. Akkaya, "Intrusion detection systems-enabled power electronics for unmanned aerial vehicles," IEEE CyberPELS Workshop, Oct. 2020.