Graffiti on road signs can confuse driverless cars: Study

Graffiti on road signs can confuse driverless cars: Study | Insurance Business America

Graffiti on road signs can confuse driverless cars: Study
Driverless cars, seen as a potentially huge threat to the insurance industry, still have a few hurdles to overcome before they become a realistic alternative for drivers.

University of Washington researchers have found that driverless cars could potentially misread road signs on the streets and have warned that this may endanger the lives of passengers.

The researchers said that hackers who are familiar with the learning algorithm of self-driving cars can trick the systems by introducing simple alterations to road signs, causing the vehicles to read the signs differently. This can cause the cars “to misbehave in unexpected and potentially dangerous ways.”

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Researchers demonstrated this by applying graffiti stickers to a stop sign that read “Love / Hate”. The stickers caused a car’s driverless system to misread the stop sign as a speed limit sign reading 45. In another experiment, researchers printed out a right-hand turn sign that looked nearly identical to a legitimate one. Slight color changes to the sign, however, caused the system to misinterpret it as a stop sign.

“Both of our attack classes do not require special resources—only access to a color printer and a camera,” the researchers said in their report.

The team told The Telegraph that they hoped their research could help build better defensive systems into driverless cars.

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