Testing driverless cars for GPS signal jamming
GPS is a key technology in driverless vehicles because it allows them to calculate their location, navigation and time.
There are concerns that bad actors could use hardware to jam the signal or manipulate one of the satellites, which could send driverless cars off course. Testing GPS vulnerabilities in a mobile environment used to be difficult because U.S. federal law prohibits wireless retransmission of GPS signals without prior authorization.
GPS jammers interfere with system vehicles receiving actual GPS signals, processing them and inserting false signals. It then sends a false signal to the GPS receiver in the vehicle. This allows the spoofing system to take full control of the GPS receiver.
This is a legitimate way for us to improve our self-driving car network testing by showing the transmission of spoofed or tampered GPS signals to analyze system responses.
When testing the system on a self-driving car on a test track, engineers were able to change the vehicle's course by 10 meters, effectively driving it off the road. The vehicle may also be forced to turn early or late.
Most self-driving cars do not rely solely on GPS, as they use a combination of sensors such as lidar, camera vision, GPS, and other tools. However, GPS is the foundation of positioning in many systems, so it is important that manufacturers are able to develop technologies to fix vulnerabilities.
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