Implementation of a Trusted I/O Processor on a Nascent SoC-FPGA Based Flight Controller for Unmanned Aerial Systems
Kini, Akshatha Jagannath
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Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are aircraft without a human pilot on board. They are comprised of a ground-based autonomous or human operated control system, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and a communication, command and control (C3) link between the two systems. UAS are widely used in military warfare, wildfire mapping, aerial photography, etc primarily to collect and process large amounts of data. While they are highly efficient in data collection and processing, they are susceptible to software espionage and data manipulation. This research aims to provide a novel solution to enhance the security of the flight controller thereby contributing to a secure and robust UAS. The proposed solution begins by introducing a new technology in the domain of flight controllers and how it can be leveraged to overcome the limitations of current flight controllers. The idea is to decouple the applications running on the flight controller from the task of data validation. The authenticity of all external data processed by the flight controller can be checked without any additional overheads on the flight controller, allowing it to focus on more important tasks. To achieve this, we introduce an adjacent controller whose sole purpose is to verify the integrity of the sensor data. The controller is designed using minimal resources from the reconfigurable logic of an FPGA. The secondary I/O processor is implemented on an incipient Zynq SoC based flight controller. The soft-core microprocessor running on the configurable logic of the FPGA serves as a first level check on the sensor data coming into the flight controller thereby forming a trusted boundary layer.
- Masters Theses