A homemade gadget can disable the systems that allow self-driving cars to see where they are going, a security researcher has said.
Jonathan Petit demonstrated how a modified, low-cost laser could create ghostlike objects in the path of autonomous cars.
The cars slowed down to avoid hitting them.
If enough phantom objects were created, the car would stop completely, Mr Petit told tech magazine IEEE Spectrum.
Mr Petit, principal scientist at software company Security Innovation, used a laser, similar to a mass-market laser pen and added a pulse generator – something that can be created using a low-cost computer such as the Raspberry Pi.
The set-up cost was just $60 (£40), he said.
This device created phantom objects – cars, walls and pedestrians – that fool the “eyes” of self-drive cars – known as lidars.
“I can spoof thousands of objects and basically carry out a denial of service attack on the tracking system so it’s not able to track real objects,” Mr Petit told IEEE Spectrum.
“I can take echoes of a fake car and put them at any location I want,” he added.
Read more: Laser can ‘disable self-drive car’
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