Perception of the cyber risk facing autonomous vehicles

  • Yvonne Caldwell

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    The last few years have seen the rapid development of autonomous vehicles. Here regionally, the UAE government of Dubai's 2018 Autonomous Transportation Strategy aims to see 25 per cent of the total transportation in Dubai operating autonomously by 2030. The operation of autonomous vehicles (AVs) depends on a range of information and communication technology including on-board sensors and external electronic infrastructure such as the internet and GPS. These electronic systems pose a number of cyber vulnerabilities in the operation of AVs. The key groups which are involved in mitigating cyber risks in AVs are (1) developers of AVs, (2) road infrastructure planners and designers, (3) regulators and policy makers, and (4) academics. The aim of the research was to identify what are the differences between the four categories of AV professionals with respect to their perception of the cyber risk facing AVs, and their perception of the attention given to mitigating the risks. My research approach is both qualitative and quantitative. For the methods and data, I used two data sources - surveys and interviews. For the surveys, my analysis method is statistical analysis. For the interviews, my analysis method is content analysis. My conclusions were that based on the perception from AV professionals, 1. the level of awareness of cyber threats facing AVs by all four groups were remarkably similar – with all having an average of fair or good (i.e. 2 or 3 out of 5), 2. the level of mitigation effort considering the level of the cyber threat by all four groups were remarkably similar – with all having an average of fair or good. 3. greatest in terms of awareness of cyber threat and attention given to mitigation were the developers of AVs, followed by academics, then regulators and policy makers, and finally road infrastructure planners & designers. These findings are surprising because the average awareness of cyber threats and attention given to mitigation is relatively low. Given the increasing deployment of AVs, this points to the need for far greater education and consideration given to the cyber issues identified by all groups of AV road professionals.
    Date of AwardJun 2020
    Original languageAmerican English


    • Cyber security; Autonomous Vehicles; Risk Perception.

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