Connected and autonomous vehicles will change the way we use vehicles and design our services and environment. They enable increased opportunities to make better use of existing infrastructure, from platooning to ride sharing, and can improve the quality of our lives. At the same time, there are challenges around e.g. trust and automation, and the personal data that is exchanged.
The AutoTrust project is funded through an EPSRC platform grant, and aims to train independent researchers in this area, and to explore new ideas and challenges around connected vehicles.
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. 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.
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.
To guide this co-creation, we have developed four x-cutting research strands, vital to framing a human-in-the-center IoV:
See more about these Themes on the AutoTrust THEMES page
If you have a research idea you’d like to develop over 3-12 months, see our Project Call page