Tesla Autopilot Cars Fooled Into Speeding With Just A Piece Of Tape

Dhir Acharya - Feb 24, 2020


Tesla Autopilot Cars Fooled Into Speeding With Just A Piece Of Tape

A group of researchers has managed to trick the Autopilots mode on a Tesla Model S and Model to break the speed limit. And the trick appeared too easy.

A group of researchers has managed to trick the Autopilots mode on a Tesla Model S and Model X to break the speed limit. And the trick appeared too easy, they needed just a piece of tape.

Tesla equips its vehicles with a camera system called Mobileye EyeQ3 that reads speed limit signs, helping the vehicles set the appropriate speed. But just like many other automated systems, it has flaws.

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A 2016 Tesla Model S

To fool the Tesla cars’ eyes, Shivangee Trivedi and Steve Povolny put a 5cm black electrical tape on a speed sign that says 35 mph, equal to 56 kilometers per hour. The tape made the number three (3) look like the number eight (8).

The idea behind this trick was to make the speed limit sign look a way that can’t fool a human being but can confuse an automated system.

After sticking the piece of tape to the number 3, the researchers droved the Tesla vehicle on the highway. The result was that the Model S and the Model X misread the 35 number as 85 and speeded 50 miles per hour over the limit.

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The speed limit sign was modified

The two researchers wrote on their blog post that even a trained eye wouldn’t find the modified speed limit sign suspicious or malicious, many people didn’t even realize that the sign was changed at all. But it took just that small piece of tape to fool the Mobileye camera.

While this hack only works in the case of Tesla models released from 2014 to 2016 that feature the Hardware Pack 1 system, it’s still important to know. The reason is that according to McAfee, there are over 40 million cars equipped with this system, so it’s like millions of people at the risk of speeding. In India, from September 2019, if you speed, you may be fined between Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000.

>>> The Cybertruck Is Converted Into Police Patrol Cars

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