Director's Welcome

Zak Kasass

Welcome to the CARMEN UTC,

The world is abuzz with highly automated vehicles (HAVs). From unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to self-driving cars, integrating these vehicles into our daily lives will have astounding societal and economic impacts. 

HAVs rely on a steady stream of signals and information from external sources for localization, route planning, perception, and general situational awareness. This includes reliance on positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) information: Location is essential both for short-range driving control and long-range navigation and planning; and accurate timing is a precondition for on-board sensor fusion, cooperative planning and control, and management based on information from other vehicles or the infrastructure. Current HAVs are too trusting of the PNT information they receive from external sources, and too fragile in the face of loss or attenuation of vital PNT and communications links. 

There is a global trend of increasing interference, whether accidental or deliberate, in radio bands crucial for highly automated transportation systems. Civil global navigation satellite system (GNSS) signals jamming and spoofing have evolved from a hypothetical threat, to an experimentally-verified vulnerability, to an emerging public safety hazard. Equipping HAVs with additional sensors (e.g., inertial measurement units, cameras, lidar, radar, and radio transceivers) only offers a partial relief as these sensors may not properly function in all environments (e.g., fog, snow, rain, dust, etc.); may violate cost, size, weight, and power (C-SWaP) constraints; and are still susceptible to malicious attacks.

CARMEN (Center for Automated Vehicle Research with Multimodal AssurEd Navigation), is a US Department of Transportation (USDOT) University Transportation Center (UTC), led by The Ohio State University, with a consortium comprising University of California, Irvine; University of Texas at Austin; and University of Cincinnati. The CARMEN UTC’s world-renowned experts in PNT, automotive, and transportation, will study PNT risks to HAVs, offer concrete solutions, and make recommendations for future standards and guidelines for cyber-resilient PNT systems. The CARMEN UTC assembled a comprehensive advisory board composed of advisors and collaborators from industry, academia, and government, including local, state, and federal DOTs. The CARMEN UTC education and workforce development plan supplements our accredited undergraduate and graduate programs with new curriculum development, an inaugurated student exchange program, and a biannual symposium connecting students with industry.


Zak Kassas
Director, CARMEN UTC
Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering; The Ohio State University
Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering; University of California, Irvine