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Tesla Autopilot hackers trick car to accelerate to 85MPH, with tape

McAfee hackers manipulate a speed limit sign, tricks Tesla Autopilot mode into seeing 85MPH instead of 35MPH sign

Anthony Garreffa | Feb 19, 2020 at 08:23 pm CST (1 min, 43 secs reading time)

Just imagine driving around through a 35MPH zone and some hacker manipulates your Tesla electric car and its Autopilot mode, tricking it into seeing that 35MPH speed sign and making it think it was an 85MPH sign.

Yeah, so a group of McAfee researchers did just that -- manipulated a speed limit sign that tricks the Autopilot self-driving technology that Tesla is a leader in. The researchers put a small sticker on a 35MPH speed limit sign, tricking both a 2016 Tesla Model X and Model S in Autopilot mode, into thinking it was an 85MPH sign -- both vehicles then began accelerating up to 85MPH.

MIT Technology Review says that this isn't the first time researchers have been able to manipulate Tesla in Autopilot mode, where they report: "In an 18-month-long research process, [McAfee researchers] Trivedi and Povolny replicated and expanded upon a host of adversarial machine-learning attacks including a study from UC Berkeley professor Dawn Song that used stickers to trick a self-driving car into believing a stop sign was a 45-mile-per-hour speed limit sign. Last year, hackers tricked a Tesla into veering into the wrong lane in traffic by placing stickers on the road in an adversarial attack meant to manipulate the car's machine-learning algorithms".

We've seen Tesla Autopilot functionality remotely disabled by Tesla Motors by a used Model S owner, a Tesla driver horrifically dying in a car crash playing mobile games, and a US senator calling the Autopilot feature 'misleading'.

Last updated: Feb 20, 2020 at 06:11 am CST

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Anthony Garreffa

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Anthony Garreffa

Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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