Driverless Cars and Graffiti

by | Aug 13, 2017 | CBS Radio Report

Driverless Cars and GraffitiAs the quest for driverless cars continues, there could be a new obstacle in the road.

While carmakers have been working on what to do if a driverless car is hacked, it seems there they’re also facing a less high tech threat, graffiti. Researchers at the University of Washington have discovered that vandalism of a street sign can confuse driverless cars and cause a potentially dangerous situation.

In one example graffiti stickers were added to a stop sign so it read love, stop, hate. But the car misread this as a 45 mile per hour speed limit sign. In another example researchers printed a right turn sign with minor color changes and the car read it as a stop sign.

Researchers say this could cause the cars to drive straight through junctions or come to a halt in the middle of the road. They say this is just another obstacle to protect driverless cars from obstacles a human would recognize. Other examples include animals in the road, or a dirty windshield that could affect the camera. Maybe what the driverless car needs, is a driver.

Brian Banmiller

About Brian

CBS News Radio national business journalist Brian Banmiller has spent more than 40 years in the news industry, covering business, politics and the economy on television, radio and in print. Currently, his “Banmiller on Business” reports are delivered to an audience of millions nationwide.

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