Warning: objects in driverless car sensors may be closer than they appear

Like something out of a spy movie, researchers have demonstrated the first attack strategy that can fool industry-standard autonomous vehicle sensors into believing nearby objects are closer or more distant than they appear – without being detected.

The research suggests that in order to fully protect driverless cars from attacks, it may be necessary to add 3D camera capabilities or the ability to share data with nearby cars. The findings will be presented at the 2022 USENIX Security Symposium in August in the US.

One of the biggest development challenges for autonomous driving systems is protecting against attacks, and a common way to do this is for separate instruments to check data against each other to confirm their measurements make sense.

The most common technology currently used to do this by autonomous car companies is the industry-standard dual-camera LIDAR sensors, which combines 2D data from cameras and 3D data from LIDAR.