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Hackers Tricked Tesla Autopilot into Exceeding Speed Limit During Research

A Tesla driving on autopilot

Hackers, essentially researchers from the cybersecurity firm McAfee, could fool a Tesla Model X and Model S Autopilot into breaking the speed limit, and all it took was a small piece of tape. According to a news report, Tesla vehicles are equipped with the Mobileye EyeQ3 camera systems, which read the speed limit signs and help with setting the accurate speed. However, this experiment only determined that the Autopilot system was inadequate.

Simple Experiment Exposes Vulnerability

In order to trick Tesla, researchers put a 2-inch black electrical tape on a 35 mph speed sign. The tape made the “3” look like an “8.” Their motive was to modify the speed limit sign in such a way that a human would be able to understand it, but an automated system would get confused. After sticking the tape, the researchers rode the Tesla on the highway. The 2016 Model X and Model 2 both misread the speed limit as 85 mph and accelerated by 50 mph over the speed limit.

The researchers said many who saw it did not realize the sign had been altered at all. But, they said, this tiny bit of tape was all it took to make the Mobileye camera’s top prediction for the sign to be 85 mph. This hack only works on Tesla vehicles that have the Hardware Pack I camera system, which was installed in vehicles that were bought between 2014 and 2016. Yet, McAfee states that more than 40 million vehicles are equipped with this system, which is not a good thing.

Cause for Serious Concern

The result of this simple experiment is cause for serious concern, especially at a time when numerous tech companies and automakers are jumping on the driverless vehicle bandwagon. It is important to take a look at the research stage as to what vulnerabilities these new systems present. However, it appears that in their enthusiasm to put these vehicles quickly on the market, automakers are not doing their due diligence in testing these vehicles and making sure the glitches are all ironed out before consumers get their hands on these cars.

Our auto defect attorneys are not against new and groundbreaking technology. We are absolutely opposed to using consumers as guinea pigs to test out this technology and putting all of us in harm’s way to get driverless vehicles out. This is unacceptable. This approach will only cause more car accidents, injuries, and fatalities. No new technology should come at the expense of human lives.


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California Personal Injury Blog