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"How Long Before Self-Driving Cars Get Hijacked Remotely?" Topic

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906 hits since 1 Jan 2018
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Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 2:42 a.m. PST

As in used for kidnapping, for specific assassination jobs, or even to hold an entire city or country hostage*?

I'm sure this must have crossed your mind, which means it's crossed the minds of the bad guys too. So, how long after self-driven cars become the norm do you think someone will hack in and use them for their evil ends?

* It looks like that happens to be the premise of an anime film called Arise: Ghost Whispers too.
Here are some clips from Minority Report and I, Robot:





Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 3:25 a.m. PST

It's already been done, you don't have to wait for a self-driving car!

Most new cars now are drive-by-wire. There is no physical connection between the controls and the components they operate. So you turn the steering wheel or push the brake pedal, and all you are doing is telling the computer to turn or slow down.

There was a thing in the news a few months ago about a Jeep being hacked, and the hackers being able to control the steering, brakes, accelerator, wipers, the full works. Fortunately they were only doing it to highlight the potential dangers!

Sobieski01 Jan 2018 3:45 a.m. PST

"I, Robot" should have been such a good movie….

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 3:50 a.m. PST

The movie was at least better than the book--a low bar in this case, but better than most adaptations do.

14Bore01 Jan 2018 4:15 a.m. PST

Just brought up self driving cars, read a article this weekend that sooner not if humans won't be able to drive cars they will drive themselves.

Vigilant01 Jan 2018 4:29 a.m. PST

Don't see the point of self driving cars. Although where I live they can't be any worse than some of the human drivers. Creating yet some other item that can be hacked, or simply goes wrong seems to be pointless.

Personal logo Striker Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 4:47 a.m. PST

CC you're giving people more credit than they deserve. How long before some goofs take over a few cars to play real-life GTA?

Airborne Engineer01 Jan 2018 5:29 a.m. PST

Wait until a terrorist group deploys driverless car bombs.

stephen m01 Jan 2018 5:33 a.m. PST

Striker +1

You have driven in Toronto obviously! (GTA=Greater Toronto Area) There are some parts where you could make a very good living making youtube videos of "who gave this person a license?" variety.

stephen m01 Jan 2018 5:35 a.m. PST

Frankly self driving cars, even hacked ones, would be a big step up skill wise around NA. Tried to buy a new car for my son and was told the wait for a manual version was months. They had to make not only it but the parts to make it.

KPinder01 Jan 2018 5:55 a.m. PST

When I heard Amazon was flirting with drone delivery I immediately had a vision of a terrorist at some desert training camp waking up to find a box outside his tent. He opens it and finds he has just received a top of the line Cuisinart.

At that same moment, Mrs. Edna Burton of Delevan, Indiana goes to her porch to see if her food processor has arrived, only to be obliterated by a Hellfire Missile.

Jeigheff Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 7:38 a.m. PST

Yesterday, I read an article saying that sex robots were vulnerable to being hacked. If so, they could be used to attack and kill people. Yikes!

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 7:50 a.m. PST

+1 Stephen M

Based on the drivers I see here in Chicago, I say hurry up! Frankly, I'll take my chances on a one in a million hack versus the one in 1,000 wacko with a license.

The economics will prove to be irresistible, as UPS, Yellow Freight, FedEx and the USPS move to replace truck drivers with self driving trucks. The savings will be in the billions for each.

My minivan is a few years away from needing replacement, and already I wonder what the options then will be. I may just go Uber. Won't work for rural folks, but for me the savings would be HUGE. No parking, insurance, maintenance, gas, upkeep. Just "rent by the mile on demand."

TMPWargamerabbit01 Jan 2018 9:14 a.m. PST

A little metallic spray paint and the vehicle is useless piece of iron… or plastic. As for hacking….. they have figured out how to hack into a aircraft flight computer while in flight…. a car would be a piece of cake. Service your car… a quick computer chip reader on the computer access port and someone knows all your travels. Repaint a roadway line(s), and the havoc caused from the white / yellow paint applied I leave to your imagination. Lastly…. "drift" into the other lane (tires on lines) and watch the fun you can cause… like the trucks on Interstate 5 everyday. The poor "remote driven car" computer will flip out and apply brakes every time. So much for applying makeup.

I prefer my manual (stick) corvette for driving when taking field trips. For the slow bumper to bumper travels to work… my old Honda Accord LXI of 31 years.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 10:35 a.m. PST

Jeigheff, are you saying my Cherry 2000 doesn't really love me? That all that advertising from Tyrell Corporation--not to mention Cyberdyne--is a bunch of lies?

Dynaman878901 Jan 2018 10:52 a.m. PST

> Don't see the point of self driving cars.

Tons of reasons for them.
1 – They WILL be better drivers than people. They already are at this point.

2 – They will relieve traffic congestion. People are TERRIBLE about rubber necking for example. Or slowing down for no d*mn reason – Self Driving cars will not do that. They also can keep a shorter interval between cars.

3 – Parking is no longer a problem in a city, just have the car drive off and come back when you are ready.

4 – Johnny Cab (every self driving car should have a creepy robotic driver).

Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 11:39 a.m. PST

The entire self-driving car question tends to be pondered by people who have little contact with rural areas. Those of us that live primarily in rural areas realize that while self-driving cars may become the norm in many areas, there will always be a need for some to drive themselves.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian01 Jan 2018 11:41 a.m. PST

When will self-driving cars be admitted to the Indianapolis 500? evil grin

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 11:53 a.m. PST

I for one do not want a "self driving" car ever. I like driving my car/SUV, so you can keep the self drivers.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 12:32 p.m. PST

On-Star! That's what I remember. If your car is stolen, you can have On-Star shut it off and the thief will get stuck on the road, unable to take it any further.

Now imagine it was accessed by the bad guys, and they shut down every car that has that service, 12-15 million cars all at once, expecting some ransom or just to prove a point.


Zephyr101 Jan 2018 2:37 p.m. PST

The lawyers are already salivating for the moment a driverless car runs down a pedestrian. That's gonna be payout-of-the-century money against the driverless car manufacturers right there…

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 5:21 p.m. PST

@Zephyr 1:

Insurance will adapt to that, as will (eventually) legislation.

@Kevin C:

Sure, you'll fewer cars in rural areas, so you'll have more drivers, especially with farms, dirt roads/tracks etc. Over 80% of the US live in urban areas – that's millions and millions of cars….


Me too, I like driving. But for 90% of my driving I'd rather let the car do it. Then, when you add in the savings, I'll keep the money and let the car drive. Plus, with driverless, you don;t have to own a car.

PaulByzantios01 Jan 2018 6:38 p.m. PST

Here's a curve ball. I have been getting carsick when someone else is driving me. In a self driving car that will be all the time. I never feel ill when I am driving. Don't know how many people are like me but may be time to invest in Dramamine stock.

Legion 401 Jan 2018 6:40 p.m. PST

It's like any new piece of tech. If a human can screw it up … he/she/it will.

Jim Selzer01 Jan 2018 7:32 p.m. PST

probably tech exists to do it already

celtcraze01 Jan 2018 8:34 p.m. PST

Simon Morden covered the possibility of hijacking cars in his metrozone series – Equations of Life. They were hijacked by a rogue quantum computer.
Fantastic reads.

Patrick Sexton Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 10:34 p.m. PST

This is how Skynet will actually end the human race.
He/she/it knows we are on to the whole nuclear genocide thing so this was the fall back plan.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Jan 2018 6:12 a.m. PST

They WILL be better drivers than people. They already are at this point.

No, they aren't. Under controlled experimental conditions with a well-defined performance space, driverless cars have exceeded the safety record of the general population unbound by the conditions and performance space.

It's similar to saying that three year olds should be driving our cars because when you look at the number of automobile accidents caused by three year old drivers, it is significantly less than those caused by adults.

They will relieve traffic congestion.

Current models using large numbers of driverless cars actually predict the opposite – bottlenecks, gridlock, and stalemates.

This gets at one of my favourite things to complain about for traffic. When I used to live in Norfolk, VA, there was an entrance to the Joint Staff College compound that could not be legally be used because of the way the traffic markings were put on the road. I think the city has never noticed it because people recognize the stupid in the way the markings are laid down, ignore them and do "what was meant" instead of what is there.

While this is an extreme case, there are tons of "stupid" traffic environments where the only reason people go is because people override "the rules". Which brings up another part of the issue … most sets of driving rules for areas have incompatibilities and most are internally inconsistent. It's similar to when you run into a "broken" rule in a wargame. Your understanding of the situation allows you to override the written rule and play the game. Sometimes. :)

If we were to redesign our cities and traffic laws to be well-defined and internally consistent, we would have a shot. However, if we did so, the cities and laws would necessarily be incomplete (not cover every possible case). But in a practical sense, the incompleteness would likely manifest in a problem so obscenely rarely that we could manage around it easily.

This redesign would obviously have to take pedestrians out of the equation by separating them completely from the driverless cars, otherwise, we've thrown inconsistencies back into the mix.

I'll take my chances on a one in a million hack versus the one in 1,000 wacko with a license.

While the Jeep and Ford hacks were done for academic purposes, you can download and build the hack for about $250 USD (plus about an AA equivalent in electronics), as compared to the team of compsci hacker graduate students with no other requirement to have a job to create the hack. Once the hack is out there, repetition becomes very easy.

Hacking the system is not nearly as disturbing as meaconing the sensors.


FTR – It took all of ten minutes into the New Year's commute (and I take the train) for me to need to suppress the urge for digital communication with drivers in the DC Metro area. I'm all for fixing the problems. And I've been building and programming computers for over forty years now, so I am down with technology being part of the solution.

BTW Redesigning our urban and rural areas is also necessary for drone delivery.

goragrad02 Jan 2018 6:03 p.m. PST

Read a couple of thrillers just a couple of months ago where different authors had the villains taking over cars remotely and causing accidents.

Of course those were not the self-drivers in the OP just those as noted above where on board electronics replace the direct linkage mechanical controls.

There was a thread no long ago about one of the new firearms being tested by the military that had a Bluetooth connection for updating the targeting software that was susceptible to hacking. There will have to be a major effort to keep the cars from being hacked.

Lion in the Stars03 Jan 2018 3:11 p.m. PST

CC you're giving people more credit than they deserve. How long before some goofs take over a few cars to play real-life GTA?

This. I expect some random sociopathic 13yo to hack a car for the purpose of running down pedestrians long before the terrorists do it.

MZWilliamson's Ripple Creek Security stories usually mention physically ripping the self-driving features out of the cars to prevent the VVIPs from getting abducted.

Mithmee Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2018 6:48 p.m. PST

Within a week of them hitting the road.

Zephyr103 Jan 2018 8:36 p.m. PST

"The economics will prove to be irresistible, as UPS, Yellow Freight, FedEx and the USPS move to replace truck drivers with self driving trucks. The savings will be in the billions for each."

Still need someone to run from the truck to the door with the package. ;-)

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2018 6:47 a.m. PST

Soon, to a mailbox or door near you. It will do great things for the employment rate. :)

And they'll help us improve are human to human social skills too, helping us learn meaningful interactions. Lol

Just wait until the robots have a really bad day.







I imagine sooner or later they'll be hacked and used to jump security walls/fences, break into homes to rob safes and murder people. Or to come in at night and cut your pepper.





That will help push a few in the middle class down a few notches. But have no fear. Politicians might finally intervene and champion the cause of some of the unskilled labor.


Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2018 7:52 a.m. PST

Lol. The tech is already there to replace most of today's actors* and news personalities (specially those hooked on Botox), though I doubt they would ever allow that to happen.

Then they could be hacked and used to tell kids and the gullible to do just about anything.

* At the very least the really expressionless "actors" like Kristen Stewart. :)


Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2018 10:12 p.m. PST

First thing to be automated on the road should be street cars. They go on a specific location at a specific schedule. Makes it easy to limit the variables. Then buses for much the same reason.

The insurance companies will make certain the liability is limited by politicians so people don't sue for a billion dollars.

The real advance will be robot flying cars, drones that take you off the road and fly you to work. Eliminated wear and tear on the roadway system, it's faster, and unlimited lanes of traffic are available.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2018 10:32 p.m. PST

Or a good chunk of the people could work from home and just video conference. :)


Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Jan 2018 10:33 a.m. PST

Eliminated wear and tear on the roadway system

Take off and landing are space hogs. And require maintenance and constant attention to keep them safe. It's also slow to do safely.

unlimited lanes of traffic are available

Only in the sense that over 99% of you is nothing. The actual "matter" in an atom is way less than 1%. Yet, here we are punching keys and drinking coffee …

Regardless of how much room you have (not unlimited when you factor in safety margins), you will have the same demand for in/out that you do now.

it's faster

If so, what that means remains to be defined, let alone demonstrated. A great example in automated systems modeling is the question, "If I can save you 30 minutes of your one hour commute every day, but increase it by 10 hours twice every six months, is that progress?" Averages are great for doing some things and not so much for others.

Mind you, flying robot cars are a much better idea than flying cars.

First thing to be automated on the road should be street cars. They go on a specific location at a specific schedule. Makes it easy to limit the variables. Then buses for much the same reason.

I'm all for this, but we've done a poor job at it so far. As far as averages go, we've seen success. The failures, however, still end up being more spectacular.

We need to work on it a lot more.

a good chunk of the people could work from home

That does actually help the automated vehicle challenge. Also, getting out of the mid-19th century 9-5 forty hour workweek mentality (which makes rational sense for fewer and fewer people in the West as time goes on).

When I ran a lab, I had four hours of staggered, mostly overlapped workdays. Arrivals at 0700, 0800, 0900, and 1000. Departures based on 8, 9, and 10 hour workdays also staggered. Contingencies happened, but by and large, most people were able to manage solo and collaborative work with the overlap. Obviously, it is a function of the type of work.

Result – Less surge and more steady strain on ingress and egress security. The same change would transfer to the roads.

Lion in the Stars09 Jan 2018 3:02 p.m. PST

Except that humans really do function better when they maintain a regular awake/asleep cycle.

I look at those places doing 12-on/12-off rotating shifts (usually massive industrial sites with significant risks to personnel) and wonder how many employees they kill every year due to scheduling issues.

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