Technology Innovation Institute (TII), the applied research pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), today announced that its Secure Systems Research Centre (SSRC) has partnered with Khalifa University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Tampere University and University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI). Secure Systems Research Centre also recently announced that it had partnered with Purdue University.

The announcement of these collaborations is the latest in a series of announcements by Technology Innovation Institute since the first Advanced Technology Research Council board meeting in August 2020. Secure Systems Research Centre is one of the initial seven dedicated research centres at Technology Innovation Institute. The strategic partnerships will advance breakthroughs in the field of secure systems and its sub-disciplines across crucial projects.

The partnership with the UAE’s prestigious Khalifa University spans four major projects, the first of which explores opportunities to use machine learning for exfiltration detection on android smartphones. The second project involves the development of solutions in secure communications for power-constrained wireless mesh networks while the third investigates physical wireless security and routing protocols on drone communications. Finally, the last project looks at physical layer security for diverse unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-ground wireless networks. This project seeks to evaluate the vulnerabilities of these networks and propose efficient solutions to mitigate system weakness.

The partnership with Georgia Institute of Technology in the United States encompasses a project that will devise a theory for constructing attack-resilient software that can address real-time constraints in cyber-physical and autonomous systems (CPAS). The research team will demonstrate techniques that enhance the security of CPAS software and platforms, with a focus on drones. The cooperation with Tampere University in Finland comprises of a project related to critical infrastructure security. This project will uncover methods to reduce an attacker’s ability to infiltrate, steal and manipulate data in critical infrastructure. This research has prominent usecases in areas such as drone deployment, emergency services, infrastructure on demand, and smart city data processing.

The partnership with Switzerland’s SUPSI will explore AI-based secure autonomous navigation on Nano-UAVs, focusing on security, autonomy, and resilience. The team aims to enable secure communication and computation onboard resource-constrained (i.e., computation, memory, power, and payload) cyber-physical systems (CPSs) by leveraging machine learning, deep learning, and advanced artificial intelligence techniques.

Speaking on the partnership announcements, Dr Shreekant (Ticky) Thakkar, Chief Researcher at Secure Systems Research Centre leading the Secure Autonomous Computing work, said: “Our world is more connected – and more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Smart cities, transportation and other critical infrastructure, require the highest levels of defence against these attacks. The partnerships and crucial projects that we have announced with prestigious global institutions will no doubt have far-reaching advancements in secure and resilient autonomous system solutions that encompass platforms, systems software, communications, applications, and data integrity.”

In March 2021, Technology Innovation Institute announced that Secure Systems Research Centre has partnered with Purdue University, a world-renowned US-based public research university, to collaborate on a three-year sophisticated cybersecurity project to ensure unmanned aerial vehicles can be used safely and efficiently in urban operations.

Technology Innovation Institute is a pioneering global research and development centre that focuses on applied research and new-age technology capabilities. The Institute has seven initial dedicated research centres in quantum, autonomous robotics, cryptography, advanced materials, digital security, directed energy and secure systems. By working with exceptional talent, universities, research institutions and industry partners from all over the world, the Institute connects an intellectual community and contributes to building an R&D ecosystem in Abu Dhabi and the UAE. The Institute reinforces Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s status as a global hub for innovation and contributes to the broader development of its knowledge-based economy.