Physical layer security for connected autonomous vehicles

   School of Computing, Engineering & the Built Environment

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  Assoc Prof Petros Karadimas  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Secure data exchange between communicating vehicles is one of the greatest technical challenges pending to be addressed prior to mass production of fully autonomous vehicles. The security solution has to be energy-efficient and adaptable to any wireless propagation environment in which connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) operate.

The proposed communication security solution relies on symmetric cryptographic key establishment and authentication enhancement by exploiting the physical layer characteristics of the wireless propagation environment. In the international literature, it has been named as physical layer security (PLS) and proven to be an ideal candidate for secure communications with strict constrains on computational resources and power consumption.

Starting from a very thorough literature review, the PhD candidate will have to understand and become familiar with the most recent advances in PLS and how this can be implemented in CAVs. Accordingly, the PhD candidate will have to understand the algorithmic solutions and steps involved in the key establishment and authentication enhancement processes, including vehicular channel modeling, estimation, and simulation, received signal quantization, information reconciliation and privacy amplification.

The final goal is to design a symmetric cryptographic key establishment algorithm and evaluate its performance according to certain key performance indicators such as the key generation rate and key entropy. The symmetric key can then be used for essential security operations in CAVs, such as encryption and authentication.

Academic qualifications

A first-class honours degree, or a distinction at master level, or equivalent achievements ideally in Electrical/Electronic/Communications Engineering, Computer Science/Engineering, Mathematics with a good fundamental knowledge of Communication Principles, Digital Communications, Cryptography, Algorithms, Programming.

English language requirement

IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online. 

Application process

Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the supervisor Dr Petros Karadimas at [Email Address Removed] to discuss the content of the project and the fit with their qualifications and skills before preparing an application. 

The application must include: 

Research project outline of 2 pages (list of references excluded) with the details about: 

  • Background and motivation of the project. The motivation must be supported by relevant literature. You can discuss also the applications you expect for the project results. 
  • Research questions or objectives. 
  • Methodology: types of data to be used, approach to data collection, and data analysis methods 
  • List of references 

Statement no longer than 1 page describing your motivations and fit with the project.

Recent and complete curriculum vitae. 

Two academic references (but if you have been out of education for more than three years, you may submit one academic and one professional reference), the form can be downloaded here

Documents proving your qualifications and your skills. 

Applications can be submitted here. To be considered, the application must use : 

  • “SCEBE0523” as project code. 
  • the advertised title as project title  

All applications must be received by 21st May 2023 and include the required documents. Applicants who have not been contacted by 1 month later should assume that they have been unsuccessful.

Computer Science (8) Engineering (12) Mathematics (25)


[1] M. Bloch and J. Barros, "Physical-Layer Security: from Information Theory to Security Engineering," Cambridge University Press, 2011.
[2] M. Bottarelli, P. Karadimas, G. Epiphaniou, D. K. B. Ismail and C. Maple, "Adaptive and Optimum Secret Key Establishment for Secure Vehicular Communications," IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, vol. 70, no. 3, pp. 2310-2321, March 2021.
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