Control Seminar

Generation of Wheel Lockup Attacks on Nonlinear Dynamics of Vehicle Traction

Alireza MohammadiAssistant Professor of ECEUniversity of Michigan, Dearborn

ABSTRACT: There is ample evidence in the automotive cybersecurity literature that the car brake ECUs can be maliciously reprogrammed. Motivated by such a threat, this paper investigates the capabilities of an adversary who can directly control the frictional brake actuators and would like to induce wheel lockup conditions leading to catastrophic road injuries. This talk demonstrates that the adversary despite having a limited knowledge of the tire-road interaction characteristics has the capability of driving the states of the vehicle traction dynamics to a vicinity of the lockup manifold in a finite time by means of a properly designed attack policy for the frictional brakes. This attack policy relies on employing a predefined-time controller and a nonlinear disturbance observer acting on the wheel slip error dynamics. Simulations under various road conditions demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed attack policy.

BIO: Alireza Mohammadi received the master’s degree from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, in 2011, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, in 2016. During his Ph.D. studies, he collaborated with the Norwegian Centre for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems (a Centre of Excellence for research in Norway) on locomotion control of ground and swimming snake robots. From 2016 to 2018, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Locomotor Control Systems Laboratory, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX, USA. He is currently an Assistant Professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the director of the Robotic Motion Intelligence Lab, University of Michigan–Dearborn, Dearborn, MI, USA. His current research interests include collaborative robotics, cyber-security of in-vehicle networks, mechatronics, nonlinear control theory, and hybrid dynamical systems.

***Event will take place via Zoom. Zoom link and password will be distributed to the Controls Group e-mail list-serv. To join this list-serv, please send an (empty) email message to with the word “subscribe” in the subject line. Zoom information is also available upon request to Katherine Godwin (

Sponsored by

UM ECEBoschFordToyota

Faculty Host

Robert GreggAssociate Professor of EECS; Associate Director of RoboticsUniversity of Michigan