Hacking LiDAR Systems

Unfortunately with the introduction of any new technology there is also the dark side – the unwanted consequences that come from those who seek to profit or do harm, or just to prove they can, by hacking into in this case driverless vehicles. As an aside, this is obviously a major concern with UAVs and why the FAA is going slowly.

Don’t think this is likely? In this VentureBeat article a hacker who goes by the name of Zoz theorizes about how to confuse the LiDAR on Google’s driverless vehicle with dust and the use of reflective surfaces on vehicles to confuse airborne LiDAR on drones. I just could never understand why these hackers did not apply their same talent to doing positive things.

Not exciting enough I guess.

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3 Responses to Hacking LiDAR Systems

  1. Apart from the lack of deeper understanding and the missing technical details, I see nothing negative about this article. Driving conditions that include dust, smoke, steam, and fog are rather common and if autonomous vehicles fail in such situations I want to know about it long before they are getting clearance for being on the same road as me.

    Also … just like the public needs to be informed how to protect their personal privacy from illicit snooping during electronic communication, the public may also like to know how to protect their presence from surveillance drones. But the suggested method of simply reflecting the LiDAR seems counterproductive because the suspicious “holes” in coverage would be especially easy to track. Some sort of “light delaying paint” may be needed to cloak your presence from a LiDAR scanner … (-:

  2. Joe Evans says:

    As someone who hacks a wide variety of technology (LiDAR-included) I only do so in order to create new tools, opportunities (primarily for archaeologists) and to better understand the technology. Hacking is a part of inventing in the 21st century and as Martin said aside from some technical issues, I see nothing negative about the article either. For every blackhat who hacks to exploit a vulnerability in order to bring chaos, there is a whitehat who hacks the same exploit in order to create a new tool–the difference is how that power is used.

  3. Jim says:

    Before any sensing is given to our customers, these types of tests are conducted just about every day in automotive. As an example, as we put radars on vehicles with automatic braking, we had to drive these vehicles and expose them to the type of environments we would expect to have this operate in. We even tested well beyond that and tried to create artificial scenarios in which we new were difficult (i.e lots of road debris and different type of vehicles). This meant, lots of homework, thousands of miles, lots of metal bridge crossings, etc… to make sure radars would allow a normal transit and not have unwanted braking caused by false positive. Lidar is yet another sensor (just like cameras, ultrasounds, etc….) that will be worked through.

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