Hackers Successfully Use Stickers To Trick Tesla Autopilot Tech Into Crashes
Little Rock, Arkansas – A China-based research firm is warning that autonomous driving technologies may not quite be ready for real-world deployment.
Keen Labs, a Chinese cybersecurity research group, has reportedly developed two methods of confusing Tesla’s autopilot lane-recognition technology into driving into wrong lanes or towards oncoming traffic.
The first of the two methods involves stickers being placed on lane markings along the roadway to make the lines appear blurred to Tesla’s radar. Keen Labs said this approach successfully created difficulties for Tesla’s technology to function properly.
Once Keen Labs discovered Tesla’s autopilot would detect a laneway by tracking as few as three small stickers placed on the ground, researchers set out to create a “fake lane.”
Researchers tested this theory on a test track by placing small stickers at an intersection, hoping to trick the Tesla vehicle into thinking the patches marked out the continuation of the right-hand lane.
This proved successful as researchers say the car took a turn into the real left lane which would have most likely caused an accident in a real-world driving situation.
Keen Labs warned that the fake lane hack would be easy and cheap to implement by those seeking to create chaos.
Another method Keen Labs successfully developed to confuse Tesla’s autopilot technology was using a video game control pad to gain control of the vehicle’s windshield wipers along with the cars steering functions.
In a statement to Forbes, Tesla said the issue relating to the remote control gamepad had been fixed before Keen Labs ever tested it.
Additionally, Tesla said the sticker hack was “not a realistic concern” because human drivers can “easily override Autopilot at any time by using the steering wheel or brakes, and should always be prepared to do so.”
Proponents of autonomous technology, many of whom are heavily invested in its wide-spread deployment, have been quick to echo Tesla’s viewpoint and are already moving to discredit the Keen Labs research as unrealistic.
However, critics of autonomous vehicles point to test results like these to argue autonomous driving technologies are not yet ready for prime time and could lead to disastrous consequences if widely adopted.