Cybersecurity Track

Track Co-Chairs: Prashanth Rajivan, University of Washington and Nia Jetter, Amazon

Cybersecurity and Autonomy

Autonomous systems will continue to be embedded into various facets of our lives, including home assistants, delivery drones, and driverless cars. Widespread shift from manual control to complete autonomy will depend on cybersecurity considerations that go into designing autonomous systems. Humans, as supervisors of autonomous systems, will assume a vital role in collaborating with these intelligent systems. So, we must continue our mission of advancing the science and practice of designing robust security for autonomous systems, adopting a holistic approach guided by the principles of "do no harm".

Join us for a day filled with enlightening research briefs, engaging panel discussions, and insightful conversations centered around the intersection of autonomy and cybersecurity. Explore ongoing research, evaluations, and thought-provoking challenges as a distinguished panel of AI, cybersecurity, and human factors experts delve into the intricacies of this dynamic field.

Track Program

Monday, October 23, 2023

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM                                     
Session 1: Robots Brain and Space: Navigating the Future of Autonomy
Speakers: Tekin Meriçli (Atlas Robotics), Monica Lopez (Holistic AI), Alhassan Yasin (NASA)


1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Session 2: Emerging Topics in Security and Safety of Autonomous Systems
Speakers: Kelly Neville (MITRE), Luke Richards (PNNL), Katie Driggs-Campbell (University of Illinois)
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Session 3: Evaluating the Security and Safety of Autonomous Systems: A Cross-Disciplinary Discussion 
Moderator: Prashanth Rajivan
  Speakers: Heather Frase (Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology), Sarah Standard (Office of Developmental Test, Evaluation and Assessment) Vincent Mancuso (MIT Lincoln Labs)

Track Speakers


Presentation Title: Fantastic Failures and Where to Find Them: Considering Safety as a Function of Structure 

Dr. Katie Driggs-Campbell is currently an assistant professor and Bruning Faculty Fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Prior to joining UIUC, she received a B.S.E. with honors from Arizona State University in 2012, a M.S. and PhD from UC Berkeley in 2015 and 2017, respectively, and was a postdoc in the Stanford Intelligent Systems Laboratory. Katie now runs the Human-Centered Autonomy Lab, which aims to design safe autonomous systems and robots that can safely interact with people out in the real-world. She is a recent recipient of the NSF CAREER award and IEEE RAS Early Academic Career Award.



Heather Frase, PhD is a Senior Fellow at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), where she works on AI Standards and Testing. Prior to joining CSET, Heather spent eight years providing data analytics, computational modeling, Machine Learning (ML), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) support for Intelligence, Defense, and Federal contracts. Additionally, Heather spent 14 years at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), supporting Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E). At IDA she led analytic research teams to apply scientific, technological, and statistical expertise to develop data metrics and collection plans for operational tests of major defense systems, analyze test data, and produce assessments of operational effectiveness and suitability. She has a Ph.D. in Material Science from the California Institute of Technology and a BS in Physics from Miami University in Oxford Ohio.




 Presentation Title: Preempting the Risks of AI: A Human-Centered Approach to Risk Management

Dr. Monica Lopez is the Co-Founder & CEO of Cognitive Insights for Artificial Intelligence focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) risk management, governance and compliance across various industries. A serial entrepreneur, Monica previously co-founded and led as CEO and business strategist La Petite Noiseuse Productions. In those roles she advanced novel ethical and human-centered research and data analytics projects and policy initiatives across the AI lifecycle, advising partners in healthcare, autonomous vehicles, and cybersecurity, and presenting and publishing her work nationally and internationally. Recent accolades include being named one of 100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics 2023, and receiving a research award from Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s Center for Law, Science and Innovation to propose soft law solutions for AI in healthcare. Other accolades include being named Baltimore’s Top 10 BioHealth Startup CEOs, The Business of Biotech; a Millennial Leader of the BioHealth Capital Region, BioHealth Innovation, Inc.; and a Particularly Imaginative Polymath, Imagination Institute, Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania. Aside from her work in the private sector, Monica is also teaching faculty at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in the Whiting School of Engineering and the School of Advanced International Studies. She teaches courses in AI, ethics, business, and public and global policy. Monica holds BAs in Psychology and French, a MA and PhD in Cognitive Science, and a Graduate Certificate in International Studies, all from JHU. She also has a Certificate in AI Policy from the Center for AI & Digital Policy in Washington, D.C. and a Certificate from the Venture Capital University Independent Director Initiative, University of California Berkeley, School of Law. She is also a longtime fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar.



Presentation Title: Autonomous Logistics

Dr. Tekin Meriçli is a roboticist with more than two decades of experience and expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and intelligent mobile robotics. He's also a published author with over 40 publications, including several best paper award winners.
He is a co-founder and the former Chief Technology Officer of Locomation, a pioneer in the development of automated driving technologies for the trucking industry.
Before co-founding Locomation, he worked as a Senior Robotics Engineer and Special Faculty/Commercialization Specialist at the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) of the Robotics Institute (RI) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Prior to NREC, as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) and the RI at CMU, he led the development of intuitive and expressive interfaces for semi-autonomous robotic systems designed to assist the elderly and disabled. He also worked on the motion and manipulation planning capabilities of NREC's CHIMP robot, which placed third in the DARPA Robotics Challenge.
He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from Boğaziçi University in Turkey, where his thesis introduced a case-based mobile manipulation framework. He also holds an MSCS degree from The University of Texas at Austin and a BS degree in Computer Engineering from Marmara University in Turkey.
Since 2004, he's also been an active member of the RoboCup community. He contributed to and led research and development pursued within Cerberus and UT Austin Villa RoboCup Standard Platform League robot soccer teams in addition to serving as a member of the technical and organizing committees of several RoboCup events and as the general co-chair of the RoboCup 2011 Istanbul event. Additionally, he was a technical lead of the UT-Austin Robot Technology DARPA Urban Challenge team. In essence, he was at the epicenter of the "big bang" of the self-driving vehicle revolution, helping build the foundations of this technology. He was also a technical lead of Team Cappadocia, developing a multi-robot ground vehicle system to carry out a surveillance and reconnaissance mission in a dynamic urban environment, which placed fourth in the MAGIC 2010 competition.

More information on his work can be found on his website at



Presentation Title: Resilience-Aware Development: A Framework and Toolset for Evaluating an Autonomous System’s Readiness to Safely Participate in High-Consequence Operations

Dr. Kelly Neville is a Principal Cognitive Engineer in MITRE’s Modeling and Analysis Innovation Center. She currently leads two research projects. One project focuses on the advancement of decision-making technology for a healthcare setting; the other focuses on resilience-centered technology development and implementation. Her expertise encompasses expertise acquisition and training, cognitive psychology, team performance, complex systems engineering, and the integration of new capability into socio-technical systems. Kelly earned her BA in Psychology from Trinity University and an MA and PhD in Experimental Psychology (specializing in cognitive and human factors psychology) from Rice University.



 Presentation Title: The Intersection of User Fairness and Security in Machine Learning 

Luke Richards is a Data Scientist in the National Security Division at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), leading research efforts in Assured Artificial Intelligence (AI). He focuses on identifying, understanding, and mitigating risks when systems include Machine Learning (ML) components using an assurance and user-centric perspective. Luke has served AI research and development needs in government mission spaces across domains such as signal processing and cybersecurity. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and holds a Masters and Bachelors degree in Computer Science. 



Presentation Title: From Fundamental Principles: Elegance and Clarity in Emergent Solutions to Complex Systems

Dr.  Alhassan S. Yasin is a multidisciplinary scientist working and researching at the intersections of four topics: (1) theoretical and applied physics, (2) machine learning and artificial intelligence, (3) bioinformatics, and (4) mechanical and aerospace engineering. He is a Professor at Johns Hopkins University, Senior Research Scientist with the Applied Physics Laboratory, NASA autonomy Lead/Deputy for Extreme Access and Excavation & Construction groups, and founder/lead of Yasin Research Group.

Overall, in his academic and professional career he has had the privilege and honor to work with amazing students, faculty, researchers, educators, mentors, and scholars from academia and industry. He is actively working and developing various frameworks with the aim of providing a sustainable footprint in our evolving society. Most of the research aims at developing better approaches to solving multi-process challenges. Some of the areas that are critical to our future and currently his group pursues are quantum computing, biomedical/healthcare, human factor, security of control systems and formal methods, Cyber Physical Systems (CPS), Digital Twins, risk and assurance of autonomous agents, robotics, understanding how to assess risk in complex systems and design optimal security controls measurably based on that, and automating some of the processes through formal models and intelligent algorithms.

Much of his work is motivated by and related to the diversity in thinking and perspective as applied to technology, ecosystem, ethics, and governance. The work is and will be at the heart of public policy questions and debates in many future conversations. His research aims at contributing to the improvement of society and all that interact with and govern it. The debate over the most effective health, technology, and human policy interventions and social welfare are to be expected and must be addressed to better target improvement to the health and well-being of our society. Ultimately, his research group aims to inform scholarly, policy, and the general public about the social consequences of technology on our society and policies by capturing its short- and long-term effects on the well-being of all lives.