Chinese Hackers Demonstrate How to Hack Tesla’s Self-Driving Systems

tesla-logoA group of hackers recently presented a proof-of-concept hack that caused a Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S to drive into an object that it would normally stop to avoid.

The presentation noted that it was relatively simple to blind the car’s sensors, even using unsophisticated materials like simple black foam wrapped around an object within the car’s view.

Another attack involved jamming the Tesla’s ultrasonic sensors with noise, which would disrupt the self-parking system. Still another “spoofed” the ultrasonic noises the car sends out to detect objects.

Perhaps most intriguingly, the group was able to blind and/or totally disable the car’s front-facing camera using a pocket laser — even causing permanent damage in one test.

The hackers also saw positive results when attacking cars by other makers, including Audi, Ford, and Volkswagen. None of those other makers offer self-driving cars yet, however.

In conclusion, the group found serious issues and threats to both current and future autonomous vehicle systems, which you can bet Tesla will look to address sooner rather than later. As the autonomous driving revolution takes shape, expect to see more and more of these security and safety issues take center stage. We’ll even see strong opposition to mainstream self-driving cars from certain people — even though self-driving cars are proven to be far better drivers than their human operators.

Tesla shares fell $2.77 (-1.20%) to $227.26 in Monday afternoon trading. TSLA has fallen 5.3% since the start of 2016, compared with a 7% gain in the S&P 500 index in the same period.

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