Google, Uber and even Apple’s potential self-driving car can all be foiled by little more than a homebrew laser pointer thanks to their Lidar sensor systems.
Jonathan Petit, principal scientist at software security company Security Innovation, has unearthed a gaping security vulnerability in Lidar sensors – essentially the eyes of any self-driving car. In a research paper due to be presented at the Black Hat Europe security conference in November, Petit outlines how a low-power laser and pulse generator can fool a car into believing that other cars and pedestrians are around it.
The vulnerability means that self-driving cars could be halted in the middle of the road when they believe another car or person has appeared in view suddenly. In a situation where self-driving cars and regular cars share the road, I need not point out the dangers of such a hack.