Hacking is a major concern as autonomous driving systems become closer to reality.
China-based Tencent Keen Security Lab is arguably the world's top dog when it comes to researching cybersecurity. Its professional hackers recently claimed they could control a Tesla's brakes from many miles away. Now, during further testing, the firm was able to trick Tesla Autopilot controls. This caused a Tesla Model S to drive itself into an oncoming traffic lane. However, this time, the "trick" had nothing to do with hacking into the car's controls.
Of course, this is not positive news for the future of connected cars and self-driving technology. Fortunately, companies like Keen Security Lab are bringing these issues to the forefront early on. Not to mention the fact that Tesla encourages hackers to try to beat its security systems.
According to the recent story, Keen was successful in upsetting Tesla's lane recognition system. However, it's important to note that the company didn't "hack" into the technology. Instead, it placed "patches" on the road to confuse the system. This is not the type of hacking that we've learned about in the past, and it would prove difficult to manage in real world situations.
Keen made a second, similar attempt to disrupt the car's system. It placed three stickers on the road in a certain configuration so that the Tesla lane technology would "think" the lane was leading into an oncoming traffic lane. Again, we don't see a typical situation in which hackers would be out walking around on roadways and putting stickers on the ground just prior to self-driving cars passing through. Nonetheless, it's important for Tesla and other autonomous vehicle makers to realize the potential.
According to RT.com, Keen wrote:
Our experiments proved that this architecture has security risks and reverse-lane recognition is one of the necessary functions for autonomous driving in non-closed roads.
Although this report isn’t eligible for an award through our bug bounty program, we know it took an extraordinary amount of time, effort, and skill, and we look forward to reviewing future reports from this group.
The automaker believes that this specific issue is not "realistic." In addition, since the current Autopilot system is a hands-on technology, it's expected that the driver will take over steering if the car fails to recognize lanes.
Video Description via Keen Security Lab on YouTube:
Tencent Keen Security Lab Experimental Security Research of Tesla Autopilot
With the rise of Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) related technologies are under rapid development in the vehicle industry. Meanwhile, the security and safety of ADAS has also received extensive attention.
As a world leading security research team, Tencent Keen Security Lab has been conducting continuous research in this area.