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Driverless Cars Lidar Can be Fooled

Image of Driverless Car Lidars Can be Fooled
Driverless Car Lidars Can be Fooled

Driverless cars promise comfort and safety among drivers and passengers, but it might change with the revelation of researchers at Duke University. According to the team, there is an attack strategy that criminals can do to fool the autonomous vehicle sensors (combination of 2D data from cameras and 3D data from LiDAR) to perceive nearby objects closer or further than they appear. This can mean problems and significant damages, especially when used in military situations where a single vehicle translates to a valuable target. Even more, researchers underscored that it is possible for hackers to find a way to attack different vehicles all at once.

From an article by Sharron Bennet in MSPoweruser.

The area shown to be vulnerable to attacks in new research stretches out in front of a camera’s lens in the shape of a frustum or a 3D pyramid with its tip sliced off.

Driverless cars promise comfort and safety among drivers and passengers, but it might change with the revelation of researchers at Duke University. According to the team, there is an attack strategy that criminals can do to fool the autonomous vehicle sensors (combination of 2D data from cameras and 3D data from LiDAR) to perceive nearby objects closer or further than they appear. This can mean problems and significant damages, especially when used in military situations where a single vehicle translates to a valuable target. Even more, researchers underscored that it is possible for hackers to find a way to attack different vehicles all at once.

“Our goal is to understand the limitations of existing systems so that we can protect against attacks,” said Miroslav Pajic, Dickinson Family Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke. “This research shows how adding just a few data points in the 3D point cloud, ahead or behind of where an object actually is, can confuse these systems into making dangerous decisions.”

According to researchers, the flaw of the system will start when a laser gun is used to shoot a LIDAR sensor. This will twist the perception of the automobile caused by the addition of false data points. According to Pajic, the system can spot this attack if the data points greatly differ from what the car’s camera sees. However, according to the research at Duke, the system can be deceived when the 3D LIDAR data points are precisely placed within a certain area of a camera’s 2D field of view.

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