A Simple Laser Pointer Can Embarrass Autonomous Vehicles


Many large companies, and others less so, decided to venture into the creation of autonomous vehicles can meet a variety of needs that we may have in the future. From creating vehicles that help capture images of city streets, passing freight vehicles, to be the beginning of what may one day be a public transportation system that does not depend on one person to operate.

The idea is certainly interesting and worthy of putting into practice, as so far have tried to do, but as it is interesting, also piggybacks a lot of obstacles that must first pass to be a safe technology for all, according says researcher Jonathan Petir, Security Innovation company, something as simple as a laser pointer can jeopardize all that has to progress so far.

Well, in practice it is not as simple as going out with a laser pointer and cause mayhem with these vehicles as many bother her cats, the test has to do with something more advanced than that. For this, the expert explained that you can generate a ghost obstacle using a laser pointer attached to a pulse generator or a Raspberry Pi or Arduino board.

“I duplicate the echoes generated by a vehicle, creating a ghost car and put it where I want. The same applies to a pedestrian or a bicycle, “says Petir.”

The problem arises when using the Lidar technology, the same that uses light to detect obstacles. Through the system it proposed Petir can create obstacles at distances up to 350 meters from the car sensor.

As indicated by Jonathan Petir, suffice to generate ghosts moving cars near the autonomous vehicle to start taking the wrong decisions as abrupt stop or to change tracks with the issue that this brings in vehicles where there is no person to correct the direction or speed which could lead the autonomous vehicle. At the time there were fears that the possibility of hacker these vehicles, but with this announcement makes everything more worrying since there is no need to interfere or touch the vehicle to cause a disaster.

In November the Black Hat Europe conference, which will show how such devices can generate a vulnerability issue for the new generation of cars will be made. The meeting also involved researchers from the University of Cork.