With the world shifting towards automatic cars that drive themselves, the number of issues concerning a machine driving you around grows. Unfortunately one fear has become a reality, is that it has been found that self-driving cars open to hacking. The lidar sensor, which is found on top of automated vehicles, is a sensor, a laser ranging system, that tells the computer about the positioning and distance of objects around the car. This information is passed on to the computer that controls the car and adjusts accordingly; if someone walks in front of the car, the car will swerve.
Researchers have found however, that by simply using a laser pointer and a Raspberry Pi device, costing no more than $60, it was possible to trick the lidar system into thinking there were objects in which the car would perform evasive manoeuvres. This of course can be used in ways to not just cause accidents and disruption, but even the possibility of stopping a vehicle. The lidar system has since proved the most reliable and effective method of analysing and interacting with the surround environment. Other systems rely on multiple sensors and have since been ditched by the major car manufacturers, including Audi, Google, Lexus and Mercedes, who have opted for the liar system.
This isn’t the first time car automation systems have been the target of hackers, as systems such as cruise control and emergency braking systems have come under attack from hackers who have successfully been able to take control of cars remotely. Recently, Jeep have had to recall a number of vehicles after it was found that hackers could take wireless control of car systems through Chrysler’s ‘UConnect’ system, which is a wireless system designed for drivers to control certain commands wirelessly.
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