Can A Tesla Be Tricked By Sticky-Tape?

Tue 25th Feb 2020

Researchers have tricked a Tesla into breaking the speed limit by placing electric sticky-tape over a road sign - a worrying prospect for self-driving technology.

With millions of dollars spent on perfecting the Tesla’s sophisticated automated self-driving technology, it didn’t take boffins from McAfee long to fool the best-selling electric vehicle into thinking it could drive faster than allowed.

By sticking black tape over the 35mph speed sign, McAfee were able to change the supposed speed limit up by 50mph to 8mph. The clever Tesla on-board camera recognised the sign and increased the Model X’s cruise control before a driver was forced to take the controls. The problem was also repeated in Tesla’s Model S.

McAfee reported their worrying findings to both Tesla and MobilEye, who produce the camera technology. 

Steve Povolny, head of advanced threat research at McAfee, said: "Manufacturers and vendors are aware of the problem and they’re learning from the problem.

"But it doesn’t change the fact that there are a lot of blind spots in this industry.

"It’s quite improbable that we’ll ever see this in the wild or that attackers will try to leverage this until we have truly autonomous vehicles, and by that point we hope that these kinds of flaws are addressed earlier on."

Though autonomous self-driving is currently not legislated in any country, Tesla’s Traffic Aware Cruise Control and Speed Assist feature are already installed into their cars.