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March 14, 2023

Computer Science Ph.D. Candidate Takami Sato Named Public Impact Fellow

UCI Graduate Division named computer science doctoral candidate Takami Sato as a 2022-2023 Public Impact Fellow.

Sato is a Ph.D. candidate in UC Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS), whose research interests include system security, machine learning security, optimization and data mining. He is advised by Qi Alfred Chen within the Department of Computer Science.

“I am honored to receive the award and pleased that the significance of our research is recognized by the committees,” says Sato. “I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to my adviser, Professor Alfred Chen, and all my other collaborators.”

Currently, Sato is investigating the security of light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology as it pertains to autonomous driving. LiDAR sensors are a crucial component in the future of autonomous driving as they detect objects and estimate distances.

Of the six levels of autonomous driving (ranging from zero to five), Sato’s work investigates the security of one of the primary sensors of Level 4 (high-driving automation) autonomous vehicles. 

Human interaction is not required in most Level 4 driving, although there are still manual overrides. This high level of automation requires complex security systems to keep drivers and passengers safe.

“As LiDAR is vulnerable to malicious laser shooting by design, we are evaluating the attack impact on autonomous driving scenarios on 9 LiDARs and three major types of object detectors to design effective defenses against the attack,” says Sato.

He hopes his work will facilitate further research toward the realization of safe and secure driving systems. Through the study of autonomous driving security, we can develop deeper insights about the human nature of driving. Such insights, Sato believes, should be useful in building the transportation systems of the future.

The Public Impact Fellowship supports academically excellent students whose research has the potential to significantly enrich the lives of people around the globe. Sato was provided a stipend of $1,000 in February 2023 to support his continued engagement in research.

Katherine Smith