Prof. Todd Humphreys Receives NSF CAREER Award

Friday, March 27, 2015

WNCG Prof. Todd Humphreys, who is also part of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at UT Austin received the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award totaling $500,000 from the National Science Foundation.

Launched in 1995, the CAREER Award represents the most prestigious award offered by the NSF’s CAREER Program. The award provides up to five years of funding to junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of their organizations’ missions. This year, NSF celebrates 20 years of CAREER Awards.

Assistant Professor Todd Humphreys received the award for his project, “Secure Perception for Autonomous Systems.” Humphreys’ project aims to identify and address vulnerabilities in emerging autonomous systems, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, self-driving cars and smart power grids. Humphreys is particularly interested in a new category of cyber-physical threat, the field attack. The field attack attempts to mislead an autonomous system by falsely manipulating the physical fields that the system’s sensors were designed to measure. The project’s goal is to develop an analytical foundation for security in the presence of field attacks and to develop a suite of algorithms and tools to detect such attacks.

Prof. Humphreys joined UT Austin in 2009. He is an expert in UAV security threats and conducted the first live-signal spoofing attacks on both a civilian drone and an $80 million super-yacht. His work on GPS location accuracy with a smartphone was recently featured in the February issue of GPS World. On March 18, 2015, he testified before U.S. Congress on the threat of UAVs and his opinion piece on drone regulation recently appeared in several publications.