Dave Pinwell

Dave Pinwell

Dave Pinwell is a prolific blogger and IT enthusiast and has kindly allowed us to reproduce his popular weekly IT Talk column first published in the Solihull News. Dave is also CEO of Colebridge Trust and SUSTAiN which play a key role in providing strategic support to Solihull’s Voluntary & Community sector. Dave has extensive experience in the IT sector, with roles including IT Director with Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe Ltd.
Tech News 15th August 2017 346

Boffins Manage To Fool Driverless Car Software

Scientists at four of the USA’s most respected Universities, led by the University of Washington, published a paper last week that has sobering implications for the future of driverless cars.

Whilst players in the motor industry race for market dominance in the future goldmine of autonomous vehicles, these researchers turned from ‘getting it right’ to consider ‘what could go wrong.’

They took the clockwork used by some vehicles to distinguish road signs and explored how easy it was to fool the artificial intelligence. The resulting report indicates that it may not be very difficult at all.

A stark example was that they put four small black and white stickers, of carefully calculated size and position, onto an American style ‘STOP’ sign. To the human eye it just looked like vandalism that is all too commonplace. As nearly all of the sign’s surface remained unobscured, there was no mistaking it.

However, the driverless car software frequently interpreted this as a ’45mph Speed Limit’ sign,

The consequences of this happening on the road hardly bear thinking about. The boffins achieved this by analysing the code built into the driverless cars, figuring out how it recognised signs and working out how to fool it. In other words, they used an approach well worn by hackers of traditional computers.

In the early days, before they learned how to use their skills to extort money, hackers just made systems for crash for fun. The idea of a new generation loitering at roadsides trying to make autonomous cars crash for fun is an extreme concern.

The boffins hope that their work is taken seriously by the manufacturers. We can but agree.

Dave Pinwell

Dave Pinwell is a prolific blogger and IT enthusiast and has kindly allowed us to reproduce his popular weekly IT Talk column first published in the Solihull News. Dave is also CEO of Colebridge Trust and SUSTAiN which play a key role in providing strategic support to Solihull’s Voluntary & Community sector. Dave has extensive experience in the IT sector, with roles including IT Director with Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe Ltd.

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