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A scooterbot stalls behind a busbot and causes a manned vehicle to collide with the bus, which then automatically calls for assistance.
Source: NIST

Smart cities are continuing their growth curve and that means the cyber-physical relationship will need to get stronger at the same time.

Take this case as an example: Aunt Edna tells her “scooterbot” where to go and it takes her there. She crosses a downtown intersection, where a semi-autonomous “busbot” is waiting to turn right.

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The busbot queries the scooterbot, verifying trajectory and speed, and calculates the scooterbot’s passing. Aunt Edna’s scooterbot nears the other curb, and the busbot begins rolling — but the scooterbot’s battery shorts-out, stopping it. The busbot quickly brakes, but a manned vehicle rear-ends the busbot, jolting passengers. The busbot notifies traffic management and emergency medical services.

Cyber Security

That is not a science fiction scene, that is something that is coming sooner than anyone thinks. That is why the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Marty Burns, Edward Griffor, Dave Wollman and their colleagues presented this scenario at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA with an accompanying conference paper, Elaborating the Human Aspect of the NIST Framework for Cyber-Physical Systems.

They explored the need to further develop the human aspect, or grouping of concerns, in cyber-physical systems, along with experts in human factors and ergonomics.

That development is challenging. “Humans can play a role in different ways in CPS, including as a CPS component, as CPS operators and as the CPS themselves” the researchers said in the paper.

Moreover, “addressing the challenges of such (cyber-physical) systems requires the development of fundamentally new constructs,” they said.

To aid this development, NIST researchers propose decomposing, or factoring, the human aspect of the CPS Framework, into ‘sub-concerns’ that both drive and provide context for system requirements.

NIST developed a Framework for Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS Framework) that supports system engineering analysis, design, development, operation, validation and assurance of CPS.

Cyber-physical systems (CPS) comprise interacting digital, analog, physical, and human components engineered for function through integrated physics and logic.

For instance, a city implementing an advanced traffic management system including real-time predictive analytics and adaptation/optimization must consider all aspects of such a CPS system of systems’ functioning and integrations with other systems, including interactions with humans.

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