Apparently Self-Driving Cars Can By Hacked By Stickers

11 months ago

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CREDIT: Autoblog

This information comes off a lot scarier than it actually is, especialy since the article never mentions in detail which cars the researchers used for testing, but regardless, it goes to show that in terms of autonomous driving systems, there are some pretty simple ways to fudge with the car's sensors.

A number of researchers from the University of Washington, University of Michigan, Stony Brook University, and UC Berkeley have figured out a way to hack self driving cars by putting stickers in a variety of patterns on street signs.

I want to again point out that there is no mention of what car they used, so don't think that this test was done in a Tesla Model S or anything. Chances are it was a researcher created "car" for the purpose of this experiment, so you have to bear in mind that actual cars on the road with autonomous technology have more sophisticated systems. If anything, this experiment is simply to raise a point.

In a research paper titled "Robust Physical-World Attacks on Machine Learning Models," researchers demonstrated four ways to disrupt an autonomous car's sensors using nothing more than a color printer and a camera.

A number of methods were used to disrupt the sensors, including putting up a full sized sign to cover the stop sign completely. This caused the sensor to classify the stop sign as a speed limit sign 100% of the time.

Another method involved putting up a number of stickers to spell out words like "love" and "hate," which caused the sensor to read a speed limit sign two-thirds of the time, and once as a "yield" sign. A third method involved placing stickers in an "abstract art" pattern with just a few small, strategically placed stickers, which ended up having the same effect as the full poster cover up.

In order for these "attacks" to work, potential hackers must know the algorithm the car's sensor system uses to recognize road signs, but again, many self-driving cars today have numerous sensors and wouldn't be able to be tricked so easily.

Tarek El-Gaaly, senior research scientist at autonomous driving startup Voyage, says that there are a number of solutions for these hacks, including incoporating some sort of context system so a car knows not to go highway speeds in a residential area if a fake sig is deployed.

"In addition, many self-driving vehicles today are equipped with multiple sensors, so failsafes can be built in using multiple cameras and lidar sensors."

SOURCE:

Cornell University Library via Autoblog

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Comments (28)
  • One scary dilemma for self-driving cars is when the owner of the car is going to be in an unavoidable accident with a bunch of pedestrians or a school bus full of children. Will the car sacrifice the needs of the many for the needs of the few or the one? Will the car decide the guy who bought and paid for it should die in order to save more people? I hope I'm never in a situation where I'm about to run into a bunch of people but if I am, I hope my car isn't the one to decide whether I live or die. 🖖🏼

    11 months ago
    1 Bump
  • Self driving cars take the fun out of driving.

    11 months ago
    • I would welcome it to take the fun of driving in a congested stop-start traffic away from me with an open arm! For me the perfect system is when I could take over the driving when the...

      Read more
      11 months ago
  • I don't want a car that's controlled by algorithms, no thanks.

    11 months ago
  • Please stop the manufacturing of automated cars and well everything else

    11 months ago
    • I agree, a horse and carriage for everyone, like the good old days!

      11 months ago
      1 Bump
    • I bet some people cannot wait for the times, when they can just plug in 3 pipes to their body and do nothing, cause thats where its all heading :P

      11 months ago
  • It is just a matter of time for algorithms to be more superior than they are now. However, current algorithms make less mistakes than human.

    11 months ago

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