Mobility@ Josh Siegel

May 18, 2021

Teaching automated vehicles how to drive defensively

Josh Siegel is creating safer, more reliable vehicles.

Josh Siegel
Josh Siegel

An assistant professor in the MSU Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Siegel's research focuses on how to make contemporary and future vehicles more secure, reliable and efficient so transportation becomes more accessible, lower cost, and safer.

He works on three mobility-related issues in his DeepTech Lab: enhanced vehicle diagnostics and prognostics, vehicle and road network cybersecurity, and developing more-robust self-driving algorithms.

Siegel is using pervasive sensing in his lab to gather vibroacoustic signals from vehicles to use in diagnostics and prognostics. The signals, he explained, are gathered by everyday devices, such as smartphones or smartwatches and can tell a vehicle owner what parts will need to be replaced and when.

“Compared with conventional maintenance approaches, we can use an individual’s own device to identify the needs of a specific vehicle with high precision and accuracy, providing rich information where previously there was little,” Siegel said.

One of Siegel’s goals is to improve the security surrounding automated vehicles. His lab uses artificial intelligence to enhance the trustworthiness of the software in these vehicles, so higher levels of automation, such as safety systems and self-driving, can be safely implemented.

As for self-driving, Siegel and his team are developing two complementary technologies to increase an automated vehicle’s ability to “drive defensively.” They are using predictive technology and adversarial algorithms to do this.

“Just like you may have learned to ‘drive like everyone is out to get you’ in order to become a safer driver, computers can do the same,” Siegel said.

As a Michigan native, Siegel grew up surrounded by car culture.

“As a kid, I got swept up with a love for vehicles – building model cars, spending days watching classics cruising Woodward – and later, restoring my own,” Siegel said.

“I developed a love for how cars blend art, craftsmanship, and engineering into one incredible bundle of human passion and creativity.”

Story by Kara Headley, courtesy of MSU Innovation Center Business Connect.