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Fooling a Mercedes Into Autonomous Driving With a Soda Can 163

Posted by Soulskill
from the most-dangerous-nap-you'll-ever-take dept.
New submitter Petrut Malaescu writes: Last year Mercedes introduced an intelligent Lane Assist system to its S-class, which is cataloged as a Level 1 "Function-specific Automation" system. In other words, hands and feet must always be on the controls. But a clever driver discovered that all it takes to keep the car in Lane Assist mode is a soda can taped to the steering wheel. It's enough to trigger the steering wheel sensor that's supposed to detect the driver's hands. Obviously, it's not a good idea to try this on a busy highway.
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Fooling a Mercedes Into Autonomous Driving With a Soda Can

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  • Obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by crow (16139) on Friday August 01, 2014 @03:44PM (#47584087) Homepage Journal

    They've had adaptive cruise control for a long time now that will slow you down so that you don't rear-end anyone in front of you. In theory, you can set it at your favorite speed, and then ignore the foot pedals until you reach your exit. I haven't used it, so I don't know if it handles stop-and-go traffic jams or things like that.

    Now they have automatic lane centering. The car uses cameras to read the paint stripes and keep it centered in the lane. Because it's not a general system for autonomous driving (and the obvious liability if it crashes), it shuts off if you let go of the steering wheel.

    Combine the two, and you have fully autonomous highway driving under regular conditions. You just have to fool the sensor, and sensors are easy to fool.

    What's interesting is to learn what conditions it won't handle.

  • Re:Boo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Friday August 01, 2014 @03:54PM (#47584185) Journal

    I've driven over 800 miles across six months on a tire that was completely flat, on the front wheels of a front wheel drive car, and then put air in it and driven off. It wasn't a run-flat, and wasn't inflated between. It was a Dunlop Signature Sport stock dealer tire (never buy these! They suck!).

    I drove from Baltimore to DC and back with a rear tire flat the whole time (a Goodyear Assurance TripleTred, something actually useful), and then put air in it when I noticed it was flat. That's like 300 miles in one day.

    I had a tire explode on me once. It wasn't low, and hadn't been thusly abused; it had about 12,000 miles on it. I didn't realize it had exploded; I felt the car start to go thump-thump-thump and knew one of the tires probably had gone flat or something, so pulled off the expressway and found four pieces of tire loosely held together by some sort of nylon mesh wrapped round my wheel. Apparently my car doesn't go spinning out of control when the front passenger tire explodes at 80mph, either. I fucking love this car.

    As far as I can tell, tires just blow up when they feel like it. Ridiculous abuse hasn't failed my tires, but normal driving with 35-40psi in a 50psi rated tire has.

  • Re:Obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PRMan (959735) on Friday August 01, 2014 @04:09PM (#47584303)

    "They've had adaptive cruise control for a long time now that will slow you down so that you don't rear-end anyone in front of you. In theory, you can set it at your favorite speed, and then ignore the foot pedals until you reach your exit. I haven't used it, so I don't know if it handles stop-and-go traffic jams or things like that."

    I have a 2014 CLA and it works. I have gotten on a freeway, set it to 80 and never touched the pedals for over 50 miles.

    As far as what it won't handle, my car won't handle extreme braking, getting cut off badly or a car that is stopped completely (doesn't see it at all). Other than that, even in slow and go driving it works perfectly (if it stops completely you have to tap the gas to go again).

  • Re:Obvious (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday August 01, 2014 @04:20PM (#47584421) Homepage Journal

    or a car that is stopped completely (doesn't see it at all)

    Ouch. This is rare, but I've seen it.

    I'd be afraid if I was on a 50-mile stretch without having to think about speed my mind would wander, and I wouldn't notice this stopped car.

    I'm the guy who never uses cruise control unless it's flat and empty for as far as the eye can see, though, so maybe I'm atypical.

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