CyberTruck Challenge encourages collaboration between universities, heavy vehicle industry

TU participates in inaugural CyberTruck Challenge

A faculty-student team from The University of Tulsa’s College of Engineering and Natural Sciences collaborated with a nationwide group of universities and heavy vehicle industry representatives at the first ever U.S. Army TARDEC and Commercial CyberTruck Challenge, June 26-30 in Warren, Michigan. The event, created in part by Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Jeremy Daily, is the first of its kind in the country and a notable development in the field of cybersecurity for the transportation industry. The CyberTruck Challenge was modeled after the successful Society of Automotive Engineers/Battelle CyberAuto Challenge for passenger cars.

cybertruck challengeDaily accompanied TU students Hayden Allen, Kelly Howell and John Maag to the weeklong forum hosted by the Michigan Defense Center and U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC). Other students from Colorado State University, Eastern Michigan University, Penn State, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Michigan, Virginia Tech, West Point and Walsh College also attended. Security researchers served as mentors as students learned about the cybersecurity features of heavy vehicles. Participants attended lectures and presentations before exploring new skills through hands-on security tasks on heavy vehicles.

“We searched for chinks in the armor of the equipment such as telematics units,” said Howell, a mechanical engineering senior. “We tried to find weaknesses in truck security systems and locate information stored on the equipment.”

Maag, an electrical and computer engineering senior, enjoyed working with tools and products used in the digital forensics industry along with the engineers who designed them.cybertruck challenge

“It was a great experience and introduced interesting fields that I didn’t know existed in engineering embedded systems that we won’t learn anywhere else,” he said.

Although Maag is not a mechanical engineering major, he and TU’s other cyber truck security research students benefit from an interdisciplinary program that encompasses many majors within the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences.

Daily helped establish the CyberTruck Challenge in 2017 to increase awareness related to the cybersecurity posture of the transportation industry. The venue also fostered new collaborations and enhanced existing ones such as TU and Colorado State University’s partnership on a National Science Foundation project focusing on heavy vehicle cybersecurity. The CyberTruck Challenge provided an opportunity to enhance relationship.

cybertruck challengeDaily specializes in traffic crash reconstruction and the digital forensics of heavy trucks. He is also the founder of Synercon Technologies in Tulsa.

Cyber Truck Challenge sponsors included the Michigan Defense Center, the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, PeopleNet, Geotab and Old Dominion Freight Lines.

For more information, contact Professor Daily at