It's important to note that this issue is not specific to Tesla. This is likely an industry-wide concern.
Autonomous defense systems company — Regulus Cyber — was successful in spoofing the Tesla Model 3, and more specifically, its Navigate on Autopilot technology. Regulus used relatively inexpensive and easily obtainable hardware and software to "trick" the car's GPS system.
The spoof simply sent the Model 3 off its intended route. Tesla has made it clear that it's the driver's job to maintain control of the vehicle at all times. So, in a real-world situation, this shouldn't be a dangerous issue. However, the fact that the system can be easily hacked is surely a concern. Once we enter a time when fully autonomous vehicles are a reality, this type of spoofing could lead to dire consequences.
Regulus previously spoofed a Model S and shared its findings with Tesla. The automaker responded:
“Any product or service that uses the public GPS broadcast system can be affected by GPS spoofing, which is why this kind of attack is considered a federal crime. Even though this research doesn’t demonstrate any Tesla-specific vulnerabilities, that hasn’t stopped us from taking steps to introduce safeguards in the future which we believe will make our products more secure against these kinds of attacks.
The effect of GPS spoofing on Tesla cars is minimal and does not pose a safety risk, given that it would at most slightly raise or lower the vehicle’s air suspension system, which is not unsafe to do during regular driving or potentially route a driver to an incorrect location during manual driving.
While these researchers did not test the effects of GPS spoofing when Autopilot or Navigate on Autopilot was in use, we know that drivers using those features must still be responsible for the car at all times and can easily override Autopilot and Navigate on Autopilot at any time by using the steering wheel or brakes, and should always be prepared to do so.”
As stated in the third paragraph above, Tesla was aware that the testing didn't include Navigate on Autopilot. This is likely why Regulus moved forward with testing that particular feature on the Model 3.
As an example, the video included with this article showcases how Regulus has managed to spoof vehicle GPS systems in the past. Currently we do not have video evidence of exactly how the Model 3 hack was carried out.
However, in order to perform its "spoofing," the hackers had to mount an antenna on the car, which can be easily discovered by the vehicle's driver. Tesla told The Detroit News:
“These marketing claims are simply a for-profit company’s attempt to use Tesla’s name to mislead the public into thinking there is a problem that would require the purchase of this company’s product. That is simply not the case. Safety is our top priority, and we do not have any safety concerns related to these claims.”
Are these concerns being blown out of proportion? What do you think? Scroll down and let us know in the comment section.
For an in-depth explanation of the test and findings, follow the source link below.
Video Description via Regulus Cyber on YouTube:
Regulus Real world GPS Spoofing 35 seconds