Latest in Gear

Image credit:

Self-driving cars can be fooled by fake signals

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
September 5, 2015
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

You'd think that self-driving cars would be most vulnerable to remote hacks, but the biggest danger may come from someone nearby with a handful of cheap electronics. Security researcher Jonathan Petit has determined that you can fool LIDAR (the laser ranging common on autonomous vehicles) by sending "echoes" of fake cars and other objects through laser pulses. All you need is a low-power laser, a basic computing device (an Arduino kit or Raspberry Pi is enough) and the right timing -- you don't even need good aim. Petit managed to spoof objects from as far as 330 feet away in his proof-of-concept attack, and he notes that it's possible to present multiple copies of these imaginary objects or make them move. In other words, it'd only take one prankster to make a self-driving car swerve or stop to avoid a non-existent threat.

There's no guarantee that this will be a major issue if and when self-driving cars become commonplace. Petit's technique only works so long as LIDAR units' pulses aren't encrypted or otherwise obscured. While that's true of many commercial systems at the moment, it's possible that production-ready vehicles will lock things down. Still, this is a not-so-friendly reminder that car makers have a lot of work ahead of them if they're going to secure their robotic rides.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Tony Avelar]

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Microsoft clarifies which games work on Xbox Series S and X on day one

Microsoft clarifies which games work on Xbox Series S and X on day one

View
Windows 10 update removes Flash and prevents it from being reinstalled

Windows 10 update removes Flash and prevents it from being reinstalled

View
T-Mobile’s TVision is a cable-cutting package for its mobile customers

T-Mobile’s TVision is a cable-cutting package for its mobile customers

View
Sony is giving away PSVR camera adapters for the PS5

Sony is giving away PSVR camera adapters for the PS5

View
Bugatti’s Bolide is a 1,825HP ‘morphable’ hypercar

Bugatti’s Bolide is a 1,825HP ‘morphable’ hypercar

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr