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Simple tape shows how stupid Tesla cars' AI is

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | February 19, 2020
It turns out all it needs to fool a Tesla's camera system is a little tape.
Tesla car
Auto industry   Tesla car
Two security researchers managed to trick two Teslas into accelerating well past the speed limit by fooling their camera systems into misreading a speed sign. News via MIT Technology Review.

Topics: Tesla car

McAfee researchers Steve Povolny and Shivangee Trivedi stuck two inches of black tape on a 35mph speed sign, slightly elongating the middle line in the "3".

They then drove a 2016 Tesla Model X towards the sign with cruise control enabled.

Cruise control is a feature of Tesla's autopilot which is supposed to control the car's speed and keep it a safe distance behind the car in front of it.

As the car approached the altered sign it misread it as 85mph, and started to accelerate by 50mph.

The same happened in a 2016 Model S.

McAfee disclosed the research to Tesla and MobilEye EyeQ3, the company which provides the Tesla 2016 models with their camera systems, last year. Tesla declined to comment to MIT Tech Review but said it would not be fixing hardware problems on that generation of vehicles.

MobilEye EyeQ3 dismissed the research.

A spokesperson told MIT Tech Review the modified sign could have been misread by a human and said the camera hadn't been designed specifically for fully autonomous driving which they said will use a variety of technologies including "crowdsourced mapping" to support cameras.