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Hacking robotic vehicles is easier than you might think

New research from the University of British Columbia suggests that robotic vehicles like Amazon delivery drones can be hacked more easily than you may think. The researchers at the University of British Columbia designed three types of attacks on robotic vehicles that caused the machines to be compromised, either crashing, missing their targets, or becoming off-schedule. The attacks were effective and required little or no human intervention. The supervisor to the study, Karthik Pattabiraman, stated that they found major weaknesses in the software of the robotic vehicles, allowing them to easily disrupt the behavior of the machines.

Although robotic vehicles use and algorithm to stay on track while in motion and have the ability to sense unusual behavior that signifies an attack, the travel plan allows the vehicle to account for external factors like friction and wind. These deviations can be exploited by attackers to throw vehicles off course.  While robotic vehicles continue to play an important role in surveillance, warehouse management, and other contexts, the use of drones will continue to increase over the next several years as their strength is adapted.

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