Tesla Autopilot Tricked by Projector

A team of engineers from Israel has found that a portable projector can mislead semi-autonomous driving systems and even cause accidents on the road.

Semi-Autonomous driving systems, which are a set of electronic assistants, are currently able to accelerate and slow down the car, keep it in the lane, track road signs and avoid collisions with obstacles. To improve the operation of the so-called autopilots, although this word is not quite correct to use, experts conduct various tests and try to deceive such systems in one way or another.

Tesla Autopilot Tricked by Projector photo 2

Scientists from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have found that it is quite easy to mislead the autopilot of the Tesla Model X through a conventional portable projector displaying images on the road and walls. The researchers placed a projector on the sidewalk, which was used to consistently display images of pedestrians and modified markings on the paving asphalt.

As a result, a Tesla ran over a virtual pedestrian, having recognized the image of a person only at the very last moment, when it was too late to slow down. However, in the case of fake road markings, it turned out even more interesting: the SUV «saw» it and followed the lines drawn on the asphalt, driving into the oncoming lane. This could have resulted in an accident with serious consequences.

As a defense against such attacks, the researchers suggest that developers of semi-autonomous driving systems train neural networks to filter objects and calculate fake ones based on the context of their location, relative size, lighting, and texture. The experts noted that they had sent the results of the tests to Tesla, but the American company refused to comment on them and replied that the Model X was modified.

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