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The University of Washington researchers are concerned about a particular threat when it comes to self-driving cars; defacing street signs. 

What the university has learned is that it is relatively easy to throw off an autonomous vehicle's image recognition system by using stickers to alter the street signs. 

If attackers know how a car classifies the objects it sees (such as target photos of signs), they can generate stickers that can trick the car into believing a sign really means something else. For instance, the "love/hate" graphics above made a computer vision algorithm believe a stop sign was really a speed limit notice. SO anyone from dedicated attackers to pranksters can make these stickers and alter the signs, which means it can cause a long-term chaos.

There are ways to prevent this from happening. The research team suggests using contextual information to verify that a sign is accurate. Why would you have a stop sign on the highway or a high-speed limit on a back road? Whatever happens, something will have to change if passengers are going to trust self-driving cars' sign-reading abilities. Have a look at the video below to see how self-driving cars work. 


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