Cyber Truck Research Experience allows students to explore vehicle security

Students explore vehicle security in Cyber Truck Research Experience

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The University of Tulsa Student Experience for Heavy Vehicle Cyber Assurance, also known as the Cyber Truck Research Experience, provides students an opportunity to develop skills that address potential cybersecurity issues in the heavy vehicle industry.

cyber truckThe program was established by TU in 2016 after the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, Geotab Telematics and PeopleNet Telematics identified potential security issues of information systems running on the trucks of today’s highways. TU was recruited to help fill the talent pipeline needed to solve cybersecurity problems of the future. Engineering students participate in project-based learning activities related to vehicle networking and learn how truck data elements and acquisition are used in fleet management systems.

“We recruit students who are passionate about transportation to learn cybersecurity,” said Jeremy Daily, program director and associate professor of mechanical engineering. “We now have mechanical engineering students getting minors in cybersecurity with the idea they can directly plug into the transportation industry.”

The students acquire skills they normally would not obtain in a classroom setting while experiencing multidisciplinary learning. Daily says program participants major in computer science, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.

“Students who finish this program are well-positioned to be competitive in the job industry for this type of research,” he said.

cyber truckElectrical and computer engineering junior John Maag is one of those apprentices who hopes his experience will appeal to the transportation job market. His research is based on a CAN clock that allows him to control a speedometer and tachometer from a Mini Cooper.

“This summer, I want to learn a lot more about semi-trucks in general and work on aspects of cybersecurity potentially find vectors of attack that can be stopped with low-cost, effective solutions,” Maag said.

Mechanical engineering junior Maya Dunlap’s project involves creating a battery charger controller from a solar panel. The device ensures the battery isn’t under or overcharged—a feature currently not offered in semi-trucks and cars.

“The main goal of the project is for the charger to act as a remote unit on the truck that you can monitor and control from a remote location using Ethernet or some other kind of wireless Internet,” Dunlap said.

TU has helped her gain a broader perspective of what she may like to do in the transportation field and make innovative strides in the industry at a young age.

“I didn’t think I’d be working with semi-trucks or things like that coming into college, but here I am!” she said.

To learn more about the TU Student Experience for Heavy Vehicle Cyber Assurance, contact Professor Daily at