Head ‘em off at the pass. That’s the approach the state of Michigan is taking in handling the threat of hackers in the development of autonomous vehicles.

Be they pranksters or those with more nefarious intentions, hackers pose a potential hazard to the road as autonomous vehicles become part of the mainstream–or Main Street. That’s why a new high school curriculum is being developed to fill the skills gap in the field of automotive cybersecurity.

A combination of programs make up the curriculum, drawing on a number of lessons to create Masters of Mobility: Cyber Security on the Road. Square One Education Network developed the curriculum, with SAE CyberAuto Challenge forming a key partnership in the program.

Components of Masters of Mobility include lessons in, but not limited to:

  • Ethical considerations
  • Unix/Linus training, the programming language used in the small computers of vehicles
  • CANBUS protocols, the way small computers communicate with each other
  • Engine fundamentals
  • SAE’s A World in Motion programming for sixth through eighth grades

“It is vitally important to Michigan’s economy and the mobility sector as a whole to graduate students with skills and awareness in vehicle-based cybersecurity,” says Barb Land, COO for the Square One Education Network.

In the fall of 2018, two schools will participate in the pilot program of Masters of Mobility. Schools under consideration for the inaugural 12 week program are Oak Park High School, Clinton High School, Wilson Talent Center (Mason), and Hale Area Schools. Eight more schools will participate in 2019.

With curricula that increase awareness of leading edge technologies as well as future careers, Square One has led the way in developing autonomous and connected vehicle-focused programs for high school students, says Land.

“It is now time to layer in the cybersecurity component that will add a component of trust in the technology, as well as ethical considerations and marketable skills,” she says.

“We believe that students excel when they are engaged in real world, relevant projects and we focus on supporting industry’s need for tech savvy talent for the future workforce.”