back to article Researchers trick Tesla into massively breaking the speed limit by sticking a 2-inch piece of electrical tape on a sign

A single piece of electrical tape stuck to a 35mph (56kph) road sign is enough to trick the autopilot software in Tesla's vehicles into speeding up to 85mph (136kph). The vulnerability was reported by McAfee Labs, the security research arm of McAfee, on Wednesday. Steve Povolny, head of McAfee Advanced Threat Research, and …

  1. nematoad Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Sigh.

    "...keep up with the speed limit

    Aye, and there is where some of the problem lies.

    Speed limits are just that, limits they are not targets.

    It is perfectly legal to do 25 MPH in a 30 MPH zone, you don't have to maintain 30 MPH at all times. I just wish other people realised that.

    1. Falanx

      Re: Sigh.

      Yes, but let's pretend that what you mean is 25 mph, not 15mph on clear long stretches of road, which is actually what infuriates other drivers.

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: Sigh.

        Yes, but let's pretend that what you mean is 25 mph, not 15mph on clear long stretches of road, which is actually what infuriates other drivers.

        I find that a significant minority of drivers are consistently infuriated up to about 35 in a 30 zone (an environment that could reasonably expect to be a 20 zone in many UK towns and cities

      2. willum0806

        Re: Sigh.

        Like traktors that refuse to pull over to allow long tails of traffic behind them....

      3. NogginTheNog

        Re: Sigh.

        Infuriating, or not, other drivers isn't my primary responsibility when I drive.

        That's their problem.

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Sigh.

      Yes, but in the UK, if you did 30mph on a 70mph road without good reason, that is considered a more serious offence than doing 80mph on that road. Less chance of being caught though, the revenue cameras won't pick it up, because most of the time, people doing 30mph on such a road do have a good reason. It would need to be picked up by an actual police officer.

      1. Velv Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Sigh.

        "that is considered a more serious offence"

        No it's not, there is no such offence. You could only be charged under "dangerous driving" or "driving without due care and attention" and only if it could be proven you were a sufficient danger to other road users.

        1. sawatts

          Re: Sigh.

          There are minimum speed signage where appropriate:

          https://images.app.goo.gl/KwxS8iVitVfX4kmR6

          (circle, blue with white number)

          1. cream wobbly

            Re: Sigh.

            ...and there's no "minimum speed 20mph" to catch the "offender" doing 15 in a 30 zone. Just a bunch of uptight lizards who don't enjoy driving anyway and should take the bus which they actually do since they bought their ComboverUtilityVehicle.

        2. BigSLitleP Silver badge

          Re: Sigh.

          Actually you can be charged with "Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users (penalty code CD30)" which can carry a maximum of 9 points on your licence and a fine of up to £5k.

        3. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Sigh.

          M4 heading to Bristol at night no other traffic & damn nearly up the ass of a Morris Minor with original Lucas Prince Of Darkness rear light sthe size of egg cups & original bulbs making the damn thing near invisible driving at 40 MPH.

          1. Steve Kellett

            Re: Sigh.

            Surely you mean: "Lucas. Lord of insufficient light and sudden unexpected darkness"?

        4. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: Sigh.

          You can literally fail your driving test for "failing to make adequate progress".

          Guess how I know.

          30mph on a stretch of road with multiple *hairpin bends* that were national speed limit... I protested most strongly.

          1. Anonymous Tribble

            Re: Sigh.

            "You can literally fail your driving test for "failing to make adequate progress".

            Guess how I know"

            Yep, me too. Nervous learner drives slowly. Later passes second test and gains confidence. Remembers reason for failing, so tries to drive as fast as possible from then on.

            Not that I do that sort of thing now. I stick to a maximum of 30 in a 30 limit.

            The drivers that get me are those that do 45 in a 60 limit, then reach a 30 or 40 limit and carry on doing 45! (and vice versa)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sigh.

              Do you live in Sussex?

            2. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: Sigh.

              The drivers that get me are those that do 45 in a 60 limit, then reach a 30 or 40 limit and carry on doing 45! (and vice versa)

              Oh yes, absolutely, and especially when (as has happened to me on more than one occasion) they pass you - perhaps dangerously - in the 30 or 40 zone and then hold you up in the 60 zone, even when it's perfectly safe to go faster.

              I didn't fail my own test for "failing to make progress", but I do know someone who did.

              M.

            3. Martin-73 Silver badge

              Re: Sigh.

              Oh yes, THIS... TITSUP

              Totally Inability To See Useful Prompts

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sigh.

            "30mph on a stretch of road with multiple *hairpin bends* that were national speed limit... I protested most strongly."

            Do you still consider them hairpins now you are experienced?

            I live in the country and it is infuriating when you are on a national speed limit road stuck behind a driver doing 35 on the straights and 20 to 25 on bends that are moderate at worst sometimes gentle.

            60 on the straights and 45 to 50 on the bends would be safe. 50 on the straights and 35 on the bends would be fine but 35 on the straights and 20 on the bends is excruciating journey times are doubled and a large queue of cars rapdily builds up with every opportunity taken to overtake, far more dangerous than just driving at a reasonable speed.

            This happens about every other weekend on a regular journy I make saturday and sunday morning. If you manage to overtake it is usually a very nervous looking old driver. I was once forced into under taking a similar looking driver on a motorway. he was in the outside lane doing 30 MPH. I closed on him scarringly quickly braked down to 30 MPH and then rapidly had a large queue behind me. Dangerous on a clear road with no queues expected. I left him lots of room on teh oinside to chaneg lane but he jusst wouldn't so after 5 minutes I under took him.

            Tractors are fine they have a reason to drive very slowly but not being a competent and confident driver is not a good reason. If you can't drive round a gentle bend at 30 MPH or you can only drive in the outside lane of the motorway at 30 MPH you should not be driving.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sigh.

              There's old and there's bold, there aren't many old and bold.

              Though I am bald.

      2. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Sigh.

        You have obviously not travelled from London to Reading via the M4 recently. If you can average 30 mph then you are doing pretty well, always considering that your car has not been squashed by 2 trucks side-by-side in the reduced traffic width lanes.

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Sigh.

          If you are stuck behind another slow moving vehicle, that is a good reason for only doing 30mph. Most motorways are like that. The A74(M) is a notable exception.

          1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

            Re: Sigh.

            The A58(M) is limited to 40mph and 30 is also seen as making good progress at times.

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Sigh.

      It's perfectly legal to do 25 mph in a 30, but if conditions are suitable for 30 mph then it's not very clever.to do 25. Because the road isn't just for one person and the compression of traffic behind a slow driver causes other knock on problems. And do it on a driving test you will get at least a minor strike against you.

      Thais piece of tape on a sign thing, interesting because my car shows the speed limit on the satnav, presumably from its own database. And also reads the posted speed limit from the road signs and they don't always agree. Especially in temporary reduced limit signs for roadworks. My car alerts me and then takes the lower option.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Sigh.

        Fairly common for 25 to be far more appropriate than 30, although 20 is often more appropriate still.

        1. boltar Silver badge

          Re: Sigh.

          Or better yet let's all do 4mph max with a man carrying a red flag in front. That way no one would ever die on a roas.. Except maybe from boredom.

          1. southen bastard

            Re: Sigh.

            you forgot the bell, got to have the man with the bell, cos you'er go'na be real soon!

          2. NATTtrash Bronze badge

            Re: Sigh.

            What's all that distant noise about "speed limits"? Not a problem here on Kraftwerks best song...

            As for this Tesla self driving stuff: Sure, can imagine that from a scientific perspective it's interesting and challenging to figure out... But I don't get what should be so inviting for "consumers". I mean, if you don't want to drive, take a bloody taxi or public transport. I know it is probably, most likely, my ignorance, but I still can't grasp peoples motivation to get behind the wheel because they are motivated actively to get from A to B, and then not wanting to put any effort at all in what they are doing...

            1. Bill Gray

              Re: Sigh.

              You _really_ don't see a use case?

              You're old. You don't see well at night/react the way you used to. You still would like to go to your bridge club/book group/inamorata's.

              Public transportation doesn't extend to where you are, or you'd have to walk a mile or two to get to it, through the snow, uphill, both ways.

              You have a small child. You'd like to get the small child to her euphonium lesson, but $(DAYJOB) interferes.

              You're reading a really interesting book about playing the euphonium, and your hour-long commute stopped being interesting some years ago.

              (Mind you, I have serious doubts about this ever working. Something safer and more reliable than your average driver would be a low bar, but I can't see people settling for anything less than near-perfection. But it would be nice to be proven wrong.)

        2. jospanner

          Re: Sigh.

          Stop being a wet blanket and learn to drive properly.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: Sigh.

            It’s not long ago that I was driving 35k miles a year - I make good progress, but there exist on roads people significantly more vulnerable than me in my metal cage.

            It’s the risk to *those* people that needs to be mitigated - and the difference between 30 and 20 is massive to them, but makes very little difference to journey time - it means I arrive at the queue for the next lights/junction slightly later, that’s all.

      2. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: Sigh.

        Here in Cornwall, there are many lanes that are single track with the occasional passing zone although those are little use if someone is approaching in their tractor (this is farm country) or an oil tanker (lots of oil fired heating around here). In those cases reversing to a relatively wide part of the lane is required.

        I live along one of those lanes and there are a lot of blind bends and some of the people driving on them seem to think they can do the national speed limit even at those bends; I compensate for that by approaching said blind bends at a safe speed (you need to be able to stop in the distance you can see).

        Amusingly, the forward facing cameras in the vehicle detect speed limit signs and the onboard computer duly displays it on the map and in the instrument cluster (the map can be used as a satnav although I don't), but when it encounters the national speed limit sign on the entrance to a lane, the computer gets confused and just displays 3 dashes (because it gets confused by a mixture of national speed limit sign and a single track lane).

        The point is (as noted by others) that the speed limit is a limit, not a target. On the open road in good conditions I usually do the speed limit, although even that is not really too safe depending on what is being driven on the rally driver slalom training course otherwise known as the A38 in southeast Cornwall.

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Sigh.

          On a single lane road you need to be able to stop in *half* the distance you can see to be clear - the person coming the other way needs the other half!

    4. Blergh

      Re: Sigh.

      In the UK driving test you need to make reasonable progress and will be marked down if you are not driving up to the speed limit. And this means near the speed limit not at a speed significantly lower than that. I wonder if you might just about get away with 25mph but I would personally expect a fail for anything slower if there are no hazards about.

      https://www.theorytestadvice.co.uk/driving-test/marking/progress.htm

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Sigh.

        I'm yet to encounter a road without hazards.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Sigh.

          I'm yet to encounter a road without hazards.

          Strictly speaking there are no roads without hazards but that's irrelevant in this discussion and a bit straw-mannish.

          1. southen bastard

            Re: Sigh.

            you have trouble with straw men on the roads in pommy land?

          2. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: Sigh.

            The comment was in reference to a test "where there are no hazards"

            And there are never *no* hazards.

            Language matters - as a society we declare that birds hit a plane (when it is clearly the plane travelling at 500mph that hit the birds), and that cars kill people (when it is the driver who did so).

            This language removes responsibility for the actions of the responsible party, to claim that there are no hazards rather than no abnormal hazards is merely a continuation of the dilation of responsibility that we place on motorists.

            That is why I am somewhat pedantic about it, it's not a strawman, it's an active acknowledgement that this is the single most dangerous thing that the vast majority of us ever do - even if much of that danger is now externalised.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sigh.

              I am the biggest hazard on the road. I find that knowledge has saved me on many roads.

        2. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Re: Sigh.

          You drive at a speed that allows you to respond to hazards. I.e. You slow down when approaching a blind bend.

          That's not what was being discussed however.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: Sigh.

            Blind bend, peds (esp children) on a footpath, parked cars, crossing point, junction, ....

        3. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: Sigh.

          Chief amongst them being the idiots that think it's clever to cause an obstruction by driving significantly below the speed limit.

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: Sigh.

            Just recently, there seem to be a lot of car drivers who think speed limit minus 25 per cent is appropriate on a clear road in good, daylight, dry conditions is appropriate, combined with driving as close to the centre of the road and braking into any vague deviation from the straight. I don't care what speed you want to do, but pay attention to your rear-view mirrors and pull over to let other road users go past.

            1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: Sigh.

              Elderly drivers. Not much can be done about that.

              1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                Re: Sigh.

                Elderly drivers

                Not always. There are a lot of factors these days. In particular there are speed limit recognition systems - the one in our Berlingo regularly gets the limit wrong, and while we don't, it is possible to tie it to the speed limiter. Thus I can see that it is entirely possible for a car to be doing 30 or 40mph perfectly safely, and then slow down with no apparent reason as it passes a side road with a 20mph limit - this isn't a driver fault, it's a vision recognition system, possibly combined with GPS, possibly combined with speed limit database fault.

                Then there are all the roads with "average speed check" cameras. We have a long section of the M4 around here (Port Talbot - from near jn40 all the way to jn43, perhaps 5½ miles) which is 50mph, introduced in two stages. People who have just whizzed past me at 80mph find themselves being overtaken a short while later because while I've slowed from 70mph to 50mph (I usually set the speed limiter to 51mph, just in case), they've slowed down to 45mph or even 40mph. This isn't just "oldies", it's just about anyone.

                M

        4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Sigh.

          "I'm yet to encounter a road without hazards."

          That's why the theory test talks about risks and "potential" hazards. As a licenced driver, you are supposed to be competent and assess and mitigate risks to an acceptable level.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: Sigh.

            “ As a licenced driver, you are supposed to be competent and assess and mitigate risks to an acceptable level.”

            And who defines that level?

            The licensed driver must. And thousands of deaths a year suggest that most get it badly wrong (yes, most - not all cause a death, but that’s merely luck)

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Sigh.

              The courts get to define it. Just like the word "reasonable" and other similar woolly and other grey sounding words. For most of it, it means err on the side of caution unless you can afford a top flight solicitor and/or barrister.

              1. John Robson Silver badge

                Re: Sigh.

                The courts make rare judgments which are generally not transferrable to any other situation.

                At the moment the courts view anyone not in a car as expendable, and that is clearly wrong. We need to have a correction, and I suspect that correction will come with automation.

        5. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: Sigh.

          I'm yet to encounter a road without hazards.

          Including other drivers...

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sigh.

          If you're consistently driving well below the speed limit, in some cases you actually are the hazard.

      2. W T Riker

        Re: Sigh.

        Failed my first test for not making "reasonable progress". In mitigation it was 4pm on Christmas Eve in the East End of London and full of black cabs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sigh.

          I failed my first test (I deserved too, as I let the bastard tester get to me, he clearly set out to fail me but that's another point) and main point the tester gave was that I didn't make due progress when he got me to drive past a primary school at kicking out time. He thought I should have been doing nearer to the 30MPH that the was the limit there at the time. I was a volunteer ambulance man at the time. I'd seen what happens when a car doing 30 hits a kid.

          1. ExampleOne

            Re: Sigh.

            Don’t schools have 20mph zones around them?

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge
              WTF?

              Re: Sigh.

              Most of them do now, but it's a fairly recent change.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Sigh.

                This was back in 1980ish, no 20MPH zones back then and even lots of infants would walk to and from school on their own. None of these rampaging hordes of mothers outside the school gates in giant 4x4s. And despite the best efforts of Green Cross Man it was common for kids to run out from between parked cars.

          2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: Sigh.

            What a scumbag tester.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sigh.

              What a scumbag tester.

              Yes, but that was hardly unusual back then. This one apparently failed all blokes on their first test. I was warned before the test. He would do things like say "Turn right there" as you drove past a road. As I said, I let him get to me.

          3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: Sigh.

            BTW, 30 mph is clearly far too slow around here, even when there are kids walking to/from school. No consideration shown at all by the 4x4 mom/dads with their precious cargo of their own kids (feck the rest).

      3. n10cities

        Re: Sigh.

        I wish the States would write up slow drivers poking along in the passing lane blocking traffic. Technically it IS illegal to do that, but you rarely see the police enforce it. Depending on the town, speeding tickets are the main source of revenue (which is illegal, but is done anyway) and you can get wrote up for going 1 mph over the limit.

        Can't tell you how many times I have gotten stuck behind a blue-hair that probably has no business driving on the roads going 25 mph in a 55 mph zone. With a 10 car line behind him/her. Absolutely infuriating.

        1. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: Sigh.

          I actually did see a State Trooper pull over a git who couldn't make the minimum of 40MPH in the inside lane on one of our glorious Chicago-area "express"-ways. The downside was that he also pulled me over for "illegal signalling"1, as I was furiously flashing my hi-beans at said git, trying to get the dim-bulb to move the eff over.... <deep breath....> I managed to escape with just a warning.

          1You know, like they do in civilized countries in Europe to politely nudge someone who is going too slowly over to an outer lane...

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: Sigh.

            civilized countries in Europe

            Not sure about that on UK motorways (urban roads seem to be better). My commute to/from work is largely by busy motorway. I have known people flash me to move over when a: I am already doing 70mph (so they shouldn't need to go any faster) and b: I would have to move straight back out again because there's a lorry a few hundred yards ahead or, c: I can see that (or know from experience that) the joining slip road is packed with vehicles and me staying out of the left-hand lane makes life a lot better for those people.

            Occasionally such a twit will try to undertake me, only to find him/herself stuck in the middle of said queue, or unable to move out to pass said lorry :-)

            And don't get me started on the ones that try to flash me over even on a three-lane road with the third lane completely clear rather than just pulling out and overtaking.

            Yes, I'll move over to the left, when it is safe and when it doesn't inconvenience anyone else. By the way, "safe" does not mean as soon as my exhaust pipe has passed the bonnet badge of someone I'm overtaking - I will leave at least a couple of car lengths.

            M.

      4. OhDearHimAgain

        Re: Sigh.

        A friend failed his bike test for this - they are quite strict on it for bike tests. They use it as an indication of your confidence on the bike.

        1. alaistair

          Re: Sigh.

          They failed me the first time for this as well! You have to dominate the road to discourage other drivers from doing something stupid... Apparently I wasn't accelerating quickly enough away from traffic lights..

          1. naughtyrich

            Re: Sigh.

            Me too on my first test. Examiner explained the need to make progress 'briskly' off the lights to avoid being rear-ended by cars / vans, trucks...

            It's amazing how often drivers appear oblivious to bikers despite headlights, hi-viz clothing etc; they only seem to be aware of 4 wheeled vehicles.

            Note that I'm a weekend biker only and drive most of the time. It's made me a better driver for sure.

            1. Martin-73 Silver badge

              Re: Sigh.

              As a driver of 4 wheeled vehicles only now (used to be a pedal biker before i got fat and old though), i can attest to the veracity of 'don't notice them'. Hence the 'think bike' campaigns.

              It's the same effect as that famous experiment where you count the baskets scored by 2 basketball teams, and completely don't notice the gorilla that stops and waves at you. As a car driver, you're mostly going to be looking for cars, 2 headlights etc... I nearly pulled into a biker once, I managed to hit reverse and get back out of the junction before he hit me. Shook both of us up. Since then, I look twice... once automatically, and the second time to actually LOOK. It still surprises me how often there's something there that i didn't see first time.

      5. Test Man

        Re: Sigh.

        I was told that lower than 10MPH below the posted speed limit is a "minor".

        Annoyingly a small stretch of road round the corner from me is "National Speed Limit" so 60MPH for cars, but regularly on a clear day with no traffic I get caught behind cars doing 40MPH.

    5. IGotOut

      Re: Sigh.

      But to defend the OP it is legal to do 60mph on a single track twist road. If you hit an incoming nxar at that speed, not is it likely to kill someone, the driver doing that speed will almost certainly be the one going to be classed as the cause.

      It's a weekly occurace to see some car on its roof / smashed to pieces or lying in a ditch because they were not doing an appropriate speed.

      If this car just ramps up speed because the sign has changed, that is a very dangerous precedent.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sigh.

        "But to defend the OP it is legal to do 60mph on a single track twist road."

        There's one of those near me - single track, with multiple blind, right-angle bends. The speed limit is NSL (60mph) ... I imagine driving down it with the cruise control set to 60mph, even with the road otherwise closed, would be fairly ... err ... "exhilirating".

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Sigh.

          "single track, with multiple blind, right-angle bends...The speed limit is NSL (60mph)"

          Even more interesting I have a road like that - not actually single track but narrow. For a vehicle depending on this sign reading it would be NSL coming from one directions and 30mph from the other.

          1. Mike Timbers

            Re: Sigh.

            these sorts of roads are also responsible for (badly-designed) satnavs taking you along such a road instead of a cosy 40mph dual carriageway.

            1. Martin-73 Silver badge

              Re: Sigh.

              Ah so you've met WAZE? Took me down a 60mph dirt track filled with muddy potholes and tractors, instead of the 50mph section of road it was avoiding. I gained about 200 new grey hairs on that trip. That's when I started second guessing it. (its prior record of shaving minutes off a journey was quite good)

        2. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Sigh.

          When the National Speed Limit was invented I think there were three major differences to today - firstly, drivers were generally expected to have some kind of common sense, I know plenty of NSL roads where it isn't safe to do 60mph, though you could also argue that the NSL was brought in precisely due to a lack of common sense.

          Secondly, most cars were significantly underpowered compared with today's models and had (in comparison) poor handling and brakes. A bottom-of-the-range Corsa or Fiesta bought today will significantly outperform mark One versions of the same, and they were only launched in the 1970s - cars from the 1950s were even worse. It would have taken a lot longer to reach those high speeds, and if you regularly drive a car where you have to stand on the pedal to get it to slow down, you naturally become more cautious.

          Aside - there was an interesting related comment on last week's Top Gear where some actor was driving fast around the track and nearly lost it on a bend. Video showed the car "squirming", brake lights coming on briefly and a slight growling noise, before it settled down. Chris Harris said "ooh, saved by the computer there", to which said actor was aghast, thinking that it was their own driving skill that had saved the day. I'm not a professional driver, but to me it looked like a classic example of an Electronic Stability Programme deciding to brake selectively in order to stop the rear end of the car swinging around. People rely on these aids, so much that they don't notice when they apply.

          Aside to the aside - my eldest is learning to drive, as is a nephew. Both have been told (by different instructors) that it is not necessary to apply the handbrake at traffic lights or a "stop" line. This is exactly opposite to what I was taught in the 1980s and (trivially, perhaps) does make hill starts somewhat awkward... except that many, many cars have "hill start assist" these days.

          Thirdly, there was just generally less traffic about. You probably had more pedestrians (and animals) to worry about, but tooling across the moors at 60mph, slightly mis-judging a bend and ending up on the wrong side of the road is less likely to have ended up with you heading straight for oncoming traffic than it is today.

          Just my 2p. I could rant all day, and I say that as someone who recognises that their own driving leaves quite a lot to be desired.

          M.

          1. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: Sigh.

            When I took *my* test you could fail for doing a handbrake start instead of a proper hill start.

            Once you had your license you could start saving your clutch, not before. The instructor had to see the handbrake come off, then you do the mirrors, look signal thing, *then* pull out without the car moving backwards an inch or creeping forwards until the signal was out.

            As a matter of safety one shouldn't have the car declutched, in gear and on the footbrake while at lights. One rear-ending and you are screeching into traffic (in every sense of the word), probably also demonstrating the Kangaroo Hop all instructors are familiar with.

            Holding the clutch down for extended periods also leads to early failure of the thrust bearing of course, which leads to sudden onset cash starvation.

            Which is why I, now in New York (land of the stop-go rush hour freeway parking lot) drive only automatics. Stick the bugger in gear and ride the footbrake until the road opens up, then it's cruise control city, baby.

            1. Martin-73 Silver badge

              Re: Sigh.

              Very strange, I learned in 2008 (I was 34, but had never NEEDED to drive before, it was for my then other half's motability wagon). I was told to ALWAYS apply the handbrake at traffic lights and select neutral. Otherwise a slip of the foot could result in lurching into oncoming traffic. And I was allowed to use the handbrake on the hill start too! Passed first time, thanks to an accommodating examiner. He KNEW one set of lights in the area was programmed for a ridiculously short amber time, and used them to check my emergency stop!

            2. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: Sigh.

              When I took *my* test you could fail for doing a handbrake start instead of a proper hill start.

              What the heck would you call a "proper hill start" then?

              You cannot hold a car pointing up hill on the clutch without also using the accelerator*. If you take your foot off the footbrake to use the accelerator, you risk the car rolling backwards - even if only slightly, and around here some of the hills make that kind of action impossible.

              The car is stopped on the handbrake. You engage the clutch and the accelerator enough such that as you release the handbrake the car doesn't move. You raise the clutch a bit more and the car moves off. You do not hold the car "raring to go" on the handbrake so that it leaps away when you release the handbrake - the trick is to release the handbrake at the same rate that the clutch is lifted and the accelerator applied. I used to have a lift into college with a police driver (friend of a friend) who took great delight explaining this to me and pointing out that his car didn't "dip" or roll as he did a rather steep hill start at a junction near the college.

              Stopping at a red light or a stop sign without using the handbrake was a fail when I took the test, and in fact it was a point against you if you did not also put the car into neutral. Having been shoved up the rear on more than one occasion I can honestly say that using the handbrake has saved a lot of hassle, the most famous occasion of which was when I was the "front" car of four involved in an accident at a red light. Car behind me was too close and no handbrake applied. He went into me when the car behind him went into him, when the car behind him went into him, having been shoved by a car failing to stop.

              I was a reasonable distance from the car in front. I had the handbrake on and was in neutral.

              Car A hit car B hit car C hit me. Quite hard. I did not hit car E in front of me.

              M.

              *This is a little less true these days when computers keep the "idle" speed fairly constant, than it was in the carburettor days when doing that kind of a trick was pretty much guaranteed to stall the engine. It's a little less true again because a lot of modern cars have "hill start assist", where the computer holds the brakes for you - for a couple of seconds - to give you time to move your foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator pedal. But relying on this feature (as my eldest has just found out when driving my 9 year old car, being mostly used to his instructor's nearly-new car) is a recipe for (near) disaster.

              1. Stevie Silver badge

                Re: Sigh.

                A handbrake start is where you demonstrate the skill of accelerating, clutching and releasing the handbrake pretty much at the same time to effect a smooth start on a hill.

                A hill start as defined in the test I spoke of did indeed involve juggling the accelerator and clutch to keep the car still, balancing its tendency to roll backwards with the engine's desire to launch it forward, with both hands on the wheel and the handbrake firmly disengaged.

                Bad for the clutch, which is why everyone switched to handbrake starts once they had the pass slip in their sweaty hands. But if you couldn't do it, you failed.

                I took my test in a Mini, the original sort, which had a fierce clutch akin to the one on a motorbike. It was either out or in, with the width of a gnat's whisker between those two states. I passed first time.

                So please don't deride my mad clutch skillz (of 43 years ago).

                1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                  Re: Sigh.

                  So please don't deride my mad clutch skillz (of 43 years ago).

                  Goodness, ten days later.

                  And still I checked :-)

                  No, not deriding your skillz at all - holding the car on the clutch is something we all have to learn. My test wasn't quite as long ago as yours (erm... hang on, let me count... 33 years I believe, and in a Mk I Nissan Micra with an absolutely asthmatic 1l engine) and I don't remember specifically being asked to demonstrate that skill, but it was definitely something I learned.

                  The point I was making (possibly not too clearly) was that my eldest seems to be being taught to do this (or the fully de-clutched, foot brake version) every time he's stopped at lights, at a Give Way, at a STOP, even just in a queue. Doing that would have failed me my test - the car is not safe. In the case of a STOP, my instructor was adamant that the definition of a STOP was to stop the car and apply the handbrake, and not to do the kind of rolling-up-to-the-junction thing you often do at a Give Way. Similarly with a red light.

                  If I weren't so busy and so strapped for cash, I'd be very tempted to take a few driving lessons myself, maybe a Pass Plus or an Advanced course just to see what has changed and what I've forgotten over the years. I have a few more learner drivers ahead of me after this one.

                  M.

      2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Sigh.

        The NSL of 60 mph on twisty, tiny roads in the UK is a bit of a joke. You can't walk along roads, or cycle (especially with kids), because there's always someone who insists of going at least 60 mph past you (or straight into you if they happen to meet another car).

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sigh.

      It's quite simple.

      If there are cars behind you and not in front, then YOU are holding up the traffic. That is extremely discourteous to all of the drivers behind who may be in a hurry to get where they are going. Move aside periodically and let them pass.

      It is particularly a problem nowadays when roads are engineered to prevent overtaking. Every straight bit of road is infested with double white lines and traffic islands and many have had the limit reduced from 60 to 40.

      1. DJV Silver badge

        "If there are cars behind you and not in front"

        Which is fine if you are in, say, a 30mph limit and are doing 28-30. It's the bastards who overtake you because they don't think the normal limits apply to them, like the git who roared past me in a 20mph zone a couple of weeks ago when I had the nerve to actually slow down to 20 after being in the 30 zone!

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Sigh.

        "If there are cars behind you and not in front, then YOU are holding up the traffic."

        No - you *are* the traffic, and you are travelling at the speed you deem appropriate. It is far easier to follow a car than to be the lead vehicle in a train. I have often travelled faster than I otherwise would on a road because of the confidence that following another vehicle provides. You can see them braking, and therefore "see" an obstruction that is round the next corner, you know that the road over which they are travelling doesn't have anything else on it etc. etc.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Sigh.

          Travelling at a speed you feel appropriate.. If there is no excuse for failing to make good progress then compressing a queue behind you is inconsiderate and a hazard in itself.

        2. myhandler

          Re: Sigh.

          Great until car in front slows unexpectedly and you drive into it.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sigh.

          Not everyone likes to be behind someone doing 25, 30, 32, 30, 25, 35, 25, 30, 32, 37, 28... on an stretch of 35mph non-passing road with no weather related hazards.

          It eats more fuel having to rollercoaster the speeds, precludes the use of cruise control by drivers following, and causes safe following distance errors.

          I'm fine with someone going 5 under as long as the speed is consistent.

          In short, move over voluntarily if you feel the need to go slow, are tired, or are looking at the scenery, and notice a backup behind you.

          At the very least use cruise control (if equipped) to keep a constant speed.

          1. ma1010 Silver badge

            Re: Sigh.

            In short, move over voluntarily if you feel the need to go slow, are tired, or are looking at the scenery, and notice a backup behind you.

            THIS ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

            Even if you ARE driving the speed limit. There's a particular road in the country I like to ride my bike on which has a 45 speed limit. I set my cruise at 45 and often on that road collect close followers. When they show up, as soon as it's safe, I pull over and let them go roaring by. That way we're all happy. Not having someone on my ass makes the ride much more pleasant, and they're glad that I'm not slowing them down.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sigh.

              One unintended side effect that sometimes occurs, is the person behind slows to a crawl when I move over, creeps by slowly, then does the limit after. Always makes me chuckle.

          2. vir

            Re: Sigh.

            Cruise control, or at least have the sense to look at the speedometer from time to time.

            I frequently drive a road between towns that is one lane in each direction but with occasional passing sections where it expands to two lanes in each direction. The really infuriating thing isn't the people who go 60 in a 70 (in the middle of the day, no rain, no obstructions, etc), it's the people who go 60 in the single-lane areas and then recover the assurance to speed up to 75 in the passing sections.

          3. ExampleOne

            Re: Sigh.

            Not everyone likes to be behind someone doing 25, 30, 32, 30, 25, 35, 25, 30, 32, 37, 28... on an stretch of 35mph non-passing road with no weather related hazards.

            It eats more fuel having to rollercoaster the speeds, precludes the use of cruise control by drivers following, and causes safe following distance errors.

            The cruise control in our car wouldn’t care, it can keeps distance if the car in front is going slower than the speed it is set to.

            Which is quite fun when people do stupid things and it responds at computer speeds instead of human speeds

            1. Zarno Bronze badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Sigh.

              Adaptive cruise is a nice feature, been thinking about retrofitting it into my car.

              It was an option the first owner never selected.

          4. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: Sigh.

            Generally agree, but in the UK certainly, most roads with 30mph limits are absolutely not suitable for cruise control.

            M.

        4. Justthefacts

          Re: Sigh.

          No. And while you aren’t going to listen to any of us, perhaps it would take some of the heat out to take some Advanced Driving lessons, and listen to what the instructor tells you.

          Put simply, if you are travelling at 40mph on a 60mph road, as *your* assessment of the speed at which *you* can safely go in those conditions, then I’m going to take you at your word. You *would* be unsafe to go quicker than that. But if 99% of other drivers are managing to drive at 60mph quite happily, then they are clearly correct too. Otherwise, you would observe other cars in the ditch every few miles, and that’s just not true.

          So I’m afraid you need to be honest with yourself and ask - how you can improve your driving skills on roads that you clearly aren’t comfortable with (training). Or, be prepared to re-organise, and avoid those roads. Other road-users exist, and you shouldn’t be putting their lives at risk.

          1. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Sigh.

            "So I’m afraid you need to be honest with yourself and ask - how you can improve your driving skills on roads that you clearly aren’t comfortable with (training). Or, be prepared to re-organise, and avoid those roads. Other road-users exist, and you shouldn’t be putting their lives at risk."

            Well into straw man territory here.

            Having been a boy racer in my youth and having at the moment a car that handles well I am usually capable of driving at the legal limit on most roads (blind hairpin bends etc. excluded).

            However that doesn't mean I have to drive in that style, especially if I have passengers.

            I often prefer a more relaxed approach.

            Of course, I watch behind me and move over when someone is a hurry catches up, but the fact that I am not driving at the maximum speed limit doesn't automatically mean that I need further training or shouldn't be on that particular road.

            1. Martin-73 Silver badge

              Re: Sigh.

              THIS. The biggest hazard on the UK's roads is people who don't use their damn mirrors. I have routinely been stuck behind (almost always old) drivers with their damn door mirrors on their little car folded in. Maybe when they passed their tests mirrors hadn't yet been invented? (usually indicators don't work either).

              Causing unnecessary holdups results in unsafe overtaking. It's not JUST the overtaking driver's fault. The idiot pootling along at 25 under the limit is at least 50% responsible for not pulling over.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sigh.

        "f there are cars behind you and not in front, then YOU are holding up the traffic. That is extremely discourteous to all of the drivers behind who may be in a hurry to get where they are going. Move aside periodically and let them pass."

        Like all the idiots who drive down a local 40mph limit road at around 60mph, frequently moving onto the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic to overtake, and forcing them to move out of the way, rather than move back onto the correct side of the road..?

        1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

          Re: Sigh.

          No. Those drivers are idiots regardless.

          The context is driving at 25 in a 30, 30 in a 40 etc. when the conditions do not require it. That's just causing an unnecessary obstruction, and anyone is fully within their rights to overtake when safe. Which is not the same thing as your little rant in any way.

          1. DJO Silver badge

            Re: Sigh.

            That's one sort of idiot. I encounter another sort:

            There's a long road I sometimes use which has a variety of limits: 30, 40, 50 & a bit @ 60.

            There's always one idiot who thinks 35 is a good speed for every section.

            Another dual carrigeway where some bits are 30 and some bits are 50, I pass them on the faster bit and they pass me on the slower bit, I'm (roughly) obeying the limit but they look at me as if I'm the idiot.

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Sigh.

        "If there are cars behind you and not in front, then YOU are holding up the traffic. That is extremely discourteous to all of the drivers behind who may be in a hurry to get where they are going. Move aside periodically and let them pass."

        That is actually a legal requirement in the UK. There are signs in Scotland (at least), especially on tourist routes such as the road from Perth to Inverness, reminding drivers to remember that. I suppose it's aimed at tourists and sigh-seers to try and remind them that other road users might be actually going to/from work or the job includes driving. It especially applies to slow moving vehicles such as agricultural machines who are obliged to pull every every so many miles (10?) to allow the inevitable queue to pass them.

      5. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Sigh.

        If you are at the speed limit, you aren't the problem any longer.

    7. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Sigh.

      When I came to do my test I was considered ready for it by my instructor but we both knew that as a new driver I lacked confidence and tended to hang back a bit. When we went into the test centre he spotted who the various examiners were and recognised one in particular who had a bit of a thing about failing to make good progress. The last bit of advice he gave me before he left me was "if you get that guy...when you've got a clear bit of road in a 30 zone you're more likely to pass by doing 32, and more likely to fail if you do 28 Have a bit of confidence, and go for it".

      As it turned out, that was the examiner I got, so I followed my instructor's advice and passed first time.

      1. southen bastard

        Re: Sigh.

        Bah all old people should have there licences taken off them! unless they can compleat the defencive driving course drunk and blind folded, and in a record time.

        get off my lawn!!

        Where's my walkin stick!

        who's moved the car keys (lives alone, for good reson)!!!

        1. Aussie Doc
          Pint

          Re: Sigh.

          Where I live, in the Australian Bush®, both roads out of 'town' are 110km/hr.

          It's compulsory to drive drunk and blind folded or the six foot grey roos see the whites of your eyes and take you off of the road!

          Grab one while you can ------->

    8. iron Silver badge

      Re: Sigh.

      You could potentially fail a driving test by driving at 25mph in a 30 zone, the examiner will be looking for you to speed up to 28mph.

    9. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Sigh.

      Well yes, but moving 35 in a 55 zone makes you a moving hazard to other traffic because they are not expecting somebody to be moving 20 mph slower than them. It's okay to be moving a bit slower, but you should not form a hazard by going too slow either. (And most states in the US also have "obstructing the flow of traffic" laws for that reason. In a lot of European countries it falls under a more general "creating a traffic hazard" laws)

      1. Jim Mitchell

        Re: Sigh.

        "not expecting"? If you are not anticipating slower, or even stopped, traffic ahead of you, you are not a good driver.

        1. genghis_uk
          Stop

          Re: Sigh.

          Speed is not dangerous in itself - it is a difference in speed that causes problems. (Like falling is fine...until you stop)

          Plus yes, being a self righteous *ick and doing significantly less that the limit may be legal but it is certainly not safer. Through your actions you are causing others to react in a way that they would not do otherwise.

          If you feel you need to do 20mph in order to react to events in time - maybe you should let someone else drive?

          (ooh, look a road sign Icon)

        2. tfewster Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Sigh.

          True, but irrelevant. A slow driver is increasing the chances that a bad driver will rear-end them or have an accident overtaking.

          You may be legally in the right if you get rear-ended, but all the compensation in the world doesn't take away the pain and debility of whiplash.

        3. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Sigh.

          "not expecting"? If you are not anticipating slower, or even stopped, traffic ahead of you, you are not a good driver."

          Anticipate as much as possible as shit happens that makes people slow down, but no, I don't EXPECT any car on the road to be moving a steady 20mph slower on purpose. A lot of things take attention when driving. One moment of paying attention to the wrong thing can lead to an accident. Idiots purposefully going very slowly simply increase the chances of something like that occurring tremendously. It should be avoided if at all possible. There is no need to speed, there is no need to drive 20 mph slower than all other traffic.

          1. Martin-73 Silver badge

            Re: Sigh.

            The exception to your correct post is the compulsive tailgater. I WILL slow down (if I can't stop to get the plonker off my arse) to a speed I consider less likely to result in injury to me when the moron inevitably hits me. I can and WILL even pull that to the point of actually stopping.

            The above only applies (usually late at night) when one person is behind me only. If there's a queue behind me, then I am likely the problem.

    10. Boo Radley

      Re: Sigh.

      Here in Texas most of the highways are 75 mph, with frequent signs warning that the left lane is for passing. This doesn't stop many drivers poking along at 60 in the left lane, interestingly many of those drivers look to be of Hispanic descent. Drivers Ed is also not required here, which definitely contributes to the poor driving habits. Personally I think everyone should have to retake the driving test every ten years or so. BTW, I am a professional driver, and have had quite a bit of extra driver training and know the traffic laws here.

    11. Mark Exclamation

      Re: Sigh.

      If you are unable or unwilling to drive at the speed limit when conditions permit, you are not competent to have a driving licence.

    12. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Sigh.

      "It is perfectly legal to do 25 MPH in a 30 MPH zone"

      Generally, yes. There are places with minimum speed limits and in the US, you could be cited for driving too slow if you are impeding the normal flow of traffic on a freeway. You will be excused if your car has a fault and you are trying to get to the next exit or a safe place to stop.

  2. Tom Paine Silver badge

    Adversarial attacks

    What other sort are there?

    Evidently there's an entire class of, effectively, spoofed command injection bugs here waiting to be found in any system that does image (or audio) processing and reacts to events it thinks it detects.

    Trivial example - those black (usually) door holdback boxes you sometimes see on fire doors are only legal because they automatically disengage when they detect the sound of the fire alarm going off. Broadcast a tone through a building PA and all those doors will swing shut, "with hilarious consequences!"

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Adversarial attacks

      @Tom Paine: "Broadcast a tone through a building PA"

      Ours are hard wired to the fire panel. I can 'safe' all doors from the door access system by my desk. I've never worked with a system that 'listens'. Oh, and during a file alarm, fire doors might close, but they'll be unlocked. Our doors access system uses maglocks, and requires a pass and a PIN to unlock, when we test the fire alarm, the maglocks are disengaged to allow quick egress.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Adversarial attacks

      I suppose you could have an 'accidental attack', perhaps if a leaf had got stuck to a road sign, making it look like it said '80' (for example).

      But yes, it is a bit of a tautology.

    3. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Adversarial attacks

      At a block of flats that a friend lived in, they released the remote door lock by pressing # on their phone - the call button could be linked to a mobile or a landline as well as a dedicated door-com handset. All very clever.

      But realising that the panel at the door was listening to the noise coming through the speaker, and knowing how most phone circuits have a feature known as sidetone which feeds microphone signal back through the earpiece, I just ran up the DTMF app on my phone, cranked up the volume and played the gate tone to the intercom. Door open, even if no-one picked the phone up at the other end!

      The building management company changed it all about 6 months later, and the new panel wasn't susceptible to that attack any more.

    4. Mike007

      Re: Adversarial attacks

      No need to broadcast a tone, just need to make sure the business purchases the right model of vacuum cleaner and the doors will close in the cleaner's face every time...

    5. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Adversarial attacks

      What other sort are there?

      Two I can think of, in ascending order of severity...(a) Panic, (b) Heart

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Adversarial attacks

        (c) Massive

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Adversarial attacks

          (d) Emily

          1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: Adversarial attacks

            {e} Mars

        2. $till$kint
          Happy

          Re: Adversarial attacks

          Oooh, crossed a line there. A blue one.

  3. FlossyThePig

    Ooh La La

    In France, on the 1st July 2018 the 90 kmh speed limit was dropped to 80 kph but the road signs were not changed at the time.

    No need for tape to read the wrong limit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ooh La La

      Don't know about French traffic laws, but in at least my US state, when speed limits are changed the new limit is only effective when the new signs go up. That eliminates a problem of local people using the new speed limit while someone travelling through uses the old (posted) limit.

    2. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Ooh La La

      In France, on the 1st July 2018 the 90 kmh speed limit was dropped to 80 kph but the road signs were not changed at the time.

      That’s because, like the UK, they generally don’t have a sign for the speed limit out of town. It’s usually denoted progressively through signs that cancel first the 50kph then 70kph speed limits.

    3. Mike007

      Re: Ooh La La

      This is why we have the "National Speed Limit Applies" road sign instead of explicit 60/70 signs on rural roads. The idea was that as vehicles got safer and they increased the limit they wouldn't need to change the signs.

      Nothing ever goes according to plan... but, it did allow them to specify different speed limits for different types of vehicles without needing massive complicated signs listing every vehicle category...

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Ooh La La

        I can think of one stretch of road though that had street lighting at less than the proscribed separation but which is marked with National Limit signs and is obviously 70mph not 30mph. But strictly speaking, it should be 30 with that signage!

  4. Chris 216

    De-da-doo-de-doo-dee-da-DAA

    My take away: bit of tape on the "danger, dont drive your car off the end of the pier" sign and we've got ourselves a Tesla based, Dukes of Hazzard stunt.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mercedes

    Have a similar driver assistance system which although pretty good does tell me I'm going over 30 in any zones with national speed limit signs where the limit is actually 60 or 70 for dual carriageways.

    Yeah I'll avoid self driving cars for now..

    1. gordonmcoats

      Re: Mercedes, and Mazda

      Mazda CX5 picks up a 65 limit sign from a railway line running parallel to a 30 limit road for me.

      Shows the road limit as 60 for about half a mile before it corrects it..

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Mercedes, and Mazda

        They'll fix that in the next update

        It should have steered into the railway line, much less congestion

        1. gordonmcoats

          Re: Mercedes, and Mazda

          It would've had to do a General Lee-style leap about 5 metres into the air, not sure 65 would have been fast enough..

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Mercedes

      "Have a similar driver assistance system which although pretty good does tell me I'm going over 30 in any zones with national speed limit signs where the limit is actually 60 or 70 for dual carriageways."

      Does this mean Mercedes are selling a car incapable of reading the National Speed Limit sign? Or is it instances of the driver understanding the rules even if there are no signs? From experience, there are sections of 60mph single carriageway A1 north of Morpeth interspersed with sections dual carriageway where the driver knows the speed limit changes from 60 to 70 and back to 60, but are not necessarily signed other than National Speed Limit Applies. (That's a white circle with a black diagonal band.top-right to bottom left for non-UK readers. The 60/70mph limits are for cars and has different meaning for cars towing trailers/caravans, small or large commercial vehicles buses/coaches etc)

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Satnav isn't fooled

    Here has for years had extensive mapping of speed limits including some of the German motorways where these might change frequently in time and space. Surely, that's the way to go to avoid this kind of Wacky Races style hack?

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: Satnav isn't fooled

      Any time I've driven a car that tells you the speed limit on the dash via SatNav it is wrong 80% of the time. that is for permanent limits as well as temporary road works limits.

      SatNav can't beat Eyeball Mk1.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Satnav isn't fooled

        My Garmin SatNav is pretty good. It's rare to find places where the mapped limit is wrong, but having recently had to do a factory reset, there are a number of places on the current, up to date map where it just shows a + sign in the red circle for "I don't know what the speed limit is". It lets you the user tell it what the limit is and it then remembers it. Not always convenient, or possible when driving alone of course. Naturally it doesn't know about any temporary limits. The driver is still responsible for knowing the posted limits.

    2. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Satnav isn't fooled

      My TomTom always used to drop the speed limit to 50 every time the motorway went under a bridge. Which was particularly odd given that most of those roads would have had a 60 limit anyway. Satnav may be more difficult to attack in real time by messing with signs, but it's certainly nowhere near reliable enough to run autonomous cars.

      In reality, some combination of mapping, real-time sensing and common sense is the only way to get a workable solution. The first two are getting there, programming the latter is where the real problem lies.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Satnav isn't fooled

        "In reality, some combination of mapping, real-time sensing and common sense is the only way to get a workable solution. The first two are getting there, programming the latter is where the real problem lies."

        If you render down 1000 "average" drivers and distill the common sense out them, you won't need a very large container for the resulting gloop. Common sense is rarer than most people realise and therefore far more valuable.

  7. spold Silver badge

    Tesla racing?

    What if I tape a "1" in front of it...?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tesla racing?

      Or tape over the 3, watch massive pile ups from in the distance. Get cheap motor/battery packs to ev convert older vehicles with out the big brother add ons. Win!

    2. Ken Shabby Bronze badge
      Stop

      Re: Tesla racing?

      Or "-"

  8. Chris G Silver badge

    I'm waiting

    For the IoT traffic signs that will inevitably be introduced when there are enough self driving cars on the road. I am guessing they will broadcast speed limits and traffic conditions with an update facility that script kiddies will love.

    "But the traffic sign told me to accelerate and turn into the oncoming traffic."

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've used up 80 rolls of tape now....can you help

    As we don't have any 35mph signs in the UK on the roads, ive been altering all the local 30mph signs... My TeslaX is happy doing 80mph everywhere now, though the use of 3M adhesive tape is going mean I can't go anywhere new at 80mph, unless you lot help out and also sticker the 30mph signs.... ?

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: I've used up 80 rolls of tape now....can you help

      I wondered about this scenario - are human-only driven cars in your locality also driving at 80 mph where you have changed the road signs to tell them that they can? I bet that a significant number would. I think I can resist the urge to try your experiment...

      And incidentally… do UK (Scottish) police car drivers report things like traffic lights out or seriously wonky road signs - the other night I decided to skip reporting a pretty busy junction with dead traffic lights since I saw a police car go through, but I could be supposing wrong. I could drop in and ask. They didn't hop out to take control of the junction with hand signals, as far as I could see, which would be another response.

  10. KahunaAZ

    it's not a "bug", it's how the system worked on Tesla's built back in the 1800's. The tech has been bypassed and updated so it's not an issue. The whole 20 people with the 1800's Tesla's will most likely never encounter an problem. Sheeh. Go put some electrical tape on global warming and solve that.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Joke

      On a more serious note, who the hell is still driving a 2016 Tesla? Jeez, haven't they upgraded YET?? Loooooseeerrssss!!!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is no bug here at all, just a click-bate headline.

    Look at the tampered sign, it is not clear that you are looking at a 35 sign even to a human who has a split second to register road signs.

    It is no longer a 3 as the shape of it is not a 3, in fact it is closer to an 8 that has been weathered and the car has correctly decided that the worn text was originally an 8.

    Frankly, if you had people tampering with road signs all over the place, autonomous cars would be the least of your problems, what with all their modern safety features.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      the car has correctly decided that the worn text was originally an 8.

      Which doesn't change the fact that a human driver would know from the surrounding road layout and street furniture that 85 is an unreasonably high limit for that road, and would not attempt to drive at it. Even a Tesla should be able to correlate the signs with a GNSS map.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        For that matter, are there actually any 85mph signs in the US or should the car "know" that 85mph is not a legal limit? Here in the UK you might see a 70mph sign, but more likely it would be a National Speed Limit sign (except in Scotland where they do post signs for 60mph and 70mph and I don't recall there being National Limit signs, even on motorways)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Yes, there are. There's a highway in Texas that's 85. And the law changes, there will probably be more soon, several states have 80.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Thanks for the update :-)

        2. Beornfrith

          Just to add that with all but about 500 miles of my driving experience having been in Scotland we do have NSL signs. I can't think of any that say 70 but I'm right at the northern limit for dual carriageways where I stay!

      2. Chris 239

        @Phil

        Except that their testing was on some sort of large unused lot with no hazards so 85 was not an unreasonable limit for the "road".

        OTOH What is the highest limit on any public road in the US?, I'm guessing it is less than 85 and you would expect it to know that therefore ignore a sign that says 85

        Hmm, how fast does a Tesla go on an unlimitted autobahn in Germany?

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Which raises a secondary but related question: given that any modern car knows, in most cases, the speed limit - why does it allow the setting of a cruise control speed greater than that limit?

          Note that I'm not criticising someone who chooses to exceed the limit; that's their decision. But I can't help feeling that they should, in such a case, be in full control of the vehicle and not handing off speed control to a robot.

  12. ukgnome

    Well that explains the road signs in rural Norfolk

    ha, just kidding, they don't have any road signs in rural Norfolk

  13. JDX Gold badge

    I imagine humans could be tricked too

    Put a fake speed sign up (easy to steal real one) saying a road is 40 instead of 20, or is NSL instead of 30.

    One assumes Teslas will slow down below the perceived limit if the road is too bendy? Or not?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: I imagine humans could be tricked too

      Kids (usually) have been doing the tap thing on speed signs probably since the invention of the signs and black tape. Usually, they do the increase in speed type of change.... 30 to 80, but I have seen them go the other way from 40 to 10 using white tape.

      1. Kernel Silver badge

        Re: I imagine humans could be tricked too

        "Kids (usually) have been doing the tap thing on speed signs probably since the invention of the signs and black tape."

        I've never seen a speed limit sign altered, but in New Zealand the addition of nipples to the 'uneven surface' signs* used here is fairly common - to the extent that one without nipples tends to trigger a "something's missing" response in the back of my mind.

        * Similar to this one - https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/b/bumps-warning-signs-uneven-road-78390839.jpg

  14. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    What's the problem?

    If someone changed a 30MPH speed sign to read 60MPH, then it would probably fool a lot of human drivers as well, so the fact that the car was fooled by a changed figure is not a fair criticism. Although the algorithm needs to be improved so that it (a) knows what the limited amount of legitimate numbers are in the country it is situated (80MPH speed signs do not exist in England), and (b) looks up the speed limit contained in a GPS map database and takes the lower of the two.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's the problem?

      Good points there cynic_999

      Tesla vehicles built from 2013 - 2016 running DAS versions 1 and 1.5 use Gps/ map data and the forward facing camera to determin the speed limit.

      Vehicles built after this date currently dont use map data as google maps is often incorrect and does not compensate for speed limit adjustments.

      Either way people need to understand this is a driver "ASSISTANCE" feature, the clues in the name its to assist with driving not to drive you.

  15. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Does it ...

    Does it measure the distance between lamp posts to determine that the limit has dropped to 30MPH even though there was no sign?

    1. Ashto5

      Re: Does it ...

      It isn’t the distance between lamppost that determines a 30mph zone

      It is the presence of lampposts, without signage to tell you otherwise then limit is 30mph

      Too many speeding courses ...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this a joke

    First of all in what reality or part of the world is there a 35mph speed limit because ive never seen one and ive been driving for 20 years.

    Second of all who is that sad that they would waste time sticking bits of tape to signs on the off chance it will cause a tesla to accelerate

    Third this only affects tesla vehicles when they are in drive assist mode and it is the responsibility of the driver to be in control of the vehicle at all times when being used.

    Another pointless story about a pointless scenarios that is based on assumption not fact.

    Try finding some real news to make a story on not just click baot bullshit

    1. Ashentaine

      35 mph

      There's a ton of places in the Midwestern US that have 35 mph speed limits, mostly residential areas. It's a holdover from the days when 55 MPH was the federally mandated speed limit and I presume most local governments don't see a need to change them to a round number.

    2. Patched Out

      Re: Is this a joke

      Bedford, New Hampshire - the town speed limit is 35 MPH for most roads. Signs are on just about every road.

      Actually, in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine, I have seen signs in every 5 MPH increment from 10 MPH up to 70 MPH.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this a joke

      Not just that, the driver would have to activate tacc after seeing the sign and before seeing the next sign. If you're already on TACC it won't make a difference.

      There is no real prospect of this 'hack' resulting in a car going to 85 in a 35 automatically.

      1. tfewster Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Is this a joke

        > If you're already on TACC it won't make a difference.

        That seemed the unlikeliest part of the article - that TACC would ignore a sign ahead and obey a "remembered" one. Which would imply it wasn't "adaptive" at all.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Is this a joke

          That isn't how it works. If you had previously set the TACC to 85mph max speed then it would go back up to that speed. However you would already be breaking the speed limit.

          If you were in a 50 and enabled TACC then that is the maximum it would speed up to after that point. It doesn't increase your maximum set speed limit. This limit is set at the point when TACC is enabled or manually adjusted.

          Think of normal traffic aware cruise - you set to cruise at 50mph and it can slow down due to traffic but it won't suddenly speed up past 50mph.

          The TACC can slow down, it can't go over your set maximum.

    4. Someone Else Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Is this a joke

      First of all in what reality or part of the world is there a 35mph speed limit because ive never seen one and ive been driving for 20 years.

      Welcome to America, mate!

  17. bazza Silver badge

    Er...

    Strictly speaking it was Mobile Eye who ended their relationship with Tesla, not the other way round as the article suggests. Mobile Eye didn’t like the fact that Tesla were using their product in a way that wasn’t appropriate, like hooking it up to an unreliable Autopilot, for fear of this exact kind of problem.

  18. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    as for the Delorean

    I recall a joke many (many) years back that the Delorean had an autopilot system that would follow the white line...

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: as for the Delorean

      Ba-DOOM...tish!

      Try the veal...

  19. Randy Hudson

    This only worked because the car was on an unknown road. For existing roads, data already exists including the speed limit, so there no need to rely on road signs.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      There are new roads built all the time, though.

      My sister and her bloke have old sat nav that doesn't know about some road changes around me - in we're in their car it shows us amusingly driving off the road and cross country for a bit.

  20. Fred Goldstein

    Credit to Intel, though. One of its susidiaries, McAfee, calls out how a product from another, MobilEye, misbehaves.

  21. ColinPa

    If a piece of tape can do it - what about dirt?

    Some of the road signs get covered in dirt - or even speckled with dirt ( think gritted road, cars going too fast), spider crawling over the sign.

    What problems will this cause?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: If a piece of tape can do it - what about dirt?

      In certain parts of the US, bullet holes are an issue too.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: If a piece of tape can do it - what about dirt?

      There are a lot of road signs around there parts where moss/lichen is growing in them.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: If a piece of tape can do it - what about dirt?

        Tee-hee. Here in New York they mount suburban speed signs on what looks like really naff Dexion. In high winds the signs rapidly twist and turn from side to side like a twisty-turny thing.

        I wonder how *that* plays inside the mighty brain of the Tesla.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "They tested a Model X 125 times on various sticker styles over four days."

    Wow, what a soul destroying activity!

  23. slewbots

    I think this trick works on humans too.

  24. Sirius Lee

    AI learning from feedback including the user

    A feature of intelligent systems is that they learn. While it is easy to imagine a vision system does not get it right all the time (my own organic one gets it wrong sometimes), surely a system like the one in a Tesla is not going to use just one source of information. Unless there is an extremely good match with a number in the environment, a system can make a comparison with, say, map software. If there's a conflict presumably this would be raised with the driver in some way so it could learn which of the two sources of speed information is correct so it can do better next time.

    Since a heuristic like this is so trivial to dream up, my guess is that the systems used by Telsa and others are even more sophisticated. As a result, and because this account seems to be limited to a single, older Telsa, it seems like a worthless anecdote without verification from another source.

    1. Screwed

      Re: AI learning from feedback including the user

      The more systems that are trying to identify the speed limit, the more work is required to decide which system is right and which is wrong.

      Further, if (for a simplisitc discussion example) it decides that three are right and one is wrong, I assume it will override the wrong one. But the very fact that it has to decide to ignore a system raises questions about that decision making system.

      We have read of Tesla vehicles hitting stationary (or slow-moving) objects more than once.

  25. Screwed

    Imagine humans carrying signs. What a fantastic way to disrupt traffic. Extinction Rebellion have put in a bulk order for signs showing "5".

    So, make it an offence to carry a sign. And make sure that football shirts are covered up as the team walks by a road...

    But what would be needed is prohibition of any sign that would be misread by any automatic system as a speed limit... Not just carried, or on clothing, but in adverts on billboards, or even on vehicles.

    One of the cars I regularly drive has speed limit detection. There are several ways it fails. First, a bendy road with "30" in black - an advisory maximum. But the road is easy to drive quite a bit over that in almost any modern car. Second, where the straight ahead lane drops to 20 but the main lane turns right and remains 30. The car always gets that wrong. Third, some roads where it simpy goes haywire and get signs and alerts wrong. Fourth, it has no concept of dual carriageway. It simply shows National Speed Limit. There are almost no dual carriageways in the area but there are several places where there is are overtaking sections with an extra lane. Two lanes does not make a 70 mph dual carriageway. Fifth, any speed limit ahead signs (rare though they may be).

    I am very glad that the car only indicates what it thinks is the limit, and does not attempt to set the cruise control.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Google Street View has number blurring technology, use that...

  26. ScottME

    Why do idiots blame Tesla for their mischief making?

    Can someone explain how it is Tesla's problem that MobileEye incorrectly detects a sign that's been maliciously tampered with? Tesla haven't been using MobileEye hardware for at least the last three years.

    I guess some people just love to hate.

  27. VulcanV5

    McAfee rehabilitated

    I went off McAfee for a while. But no longer. This is fantastic news, bits of black sticky tape strategically placed to defeat camera technology.

    There's a real future for this kind of thing in locations policed by the UK's "private parking operator" scum-bags.

    All that's required is to muck up up the estimated parking durations recorded by an ANPR camera and the scum-bags won't have a hope of screwing money out of anyone. End of private parking operators. And the world a much better place. . . all thanks to McAfee.

  28. MachDiamond Silver badge

    It's the simple hacks

    That the car can be tricked by such a simple hack is the biggest concern. In addition, there are numbers along roads all over the place. If the car can be fooled by one, it can be fooled by others. If the car is making decisions based on the numbers it sees, very bad things can happen. I would have hoped that Tesla would have tested this sort of thing themselves when they designed the system. It seems so obvious.

    Another problem is on roads that have limits for trucks with 3 or more axles and all cars when towing. A car reading the signs could go back and forth between the speeds based on the last one it saw. On a multi-lane road, you might see that the speed limit is lowered up ahead, but as you get nearer to the sign, the car next to you blocks your sight of it. I travel a few roads where it's quite fast on the long stretches were there are no towns but then decreases rapidly as you enter into cities along the highway. If you are relying on the car to see these signs, you could wind up approaching a traffic light at highway speeds if the local cops don't light you up first. (These towns are big on speeding tickets). As stated before, some towns make a good income on speeding tickets and just love people from out of town. To fight a ticket, you have to return to the local court in person. The court is going to assume that the officer was being nice in writing you up for only 5 over the limit and may not be willing to dismiss the ticket as trivial. Who wants to be that the court is in on the speeding ticket racket as well? Do you spend the time and money to come back and take your chances or do you just pay the fine?

    BTW, Tesla just released a whole new Terms of Service. It appears that the software on the car has a flag to tell the SuperChargers whether it's allowed to use them or not. If your car has been disowned by Tesla and won't receive updates you "could" get into the code and turn the SuperCharger access back on without them knowing (changing the reported VIN would be a good idea too). They've adding clauses to make this against the "rules". For some odd reason, they also prohibit using third party compatible chargers if your car has been excluded from the Tesla network. I'm not sure how they are going to make that work.

  29. Luiz Abdala Bronze badge
    Go

    The proper application of tape could fool an human.

    I'm kinda proud of Tesla's AI being fooled the same way we mere humans are.

    However:

    - If I saw a sign with 85 on it, I would perhaps check the GPS first? My 20 years old tomtom gps knows the speed limits of most of my city...

    - I would know it wasn't 85 last week? (Historical record?)

    - I would know it's not a highway that allows 85? (Knowing how roads work?)

    - A car that speeds up by itself? Hell, I would be GLAD to stomp on the gas to hit 85 BY MYSELF, then set the cruise control again. See how many people would honk at you for doing 35 in an 85 zone!

    A bit of crosschecking WITH EVEN FREAKING GOOGLE MAPS would work wonders.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: The proper application of tape could fool an human.

      "A bit of crosschecking WITH EVEN FREAKING GOOGLE MAPS would work wonders."

      I'd really prefer you aren't looking things up on Google while driving, thanks.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fun Times Ahead

    I can see lots of fun times ahead where eco warriors go around putting 10 on all the signs to slow the traffic down.

    Personally Google’s mapping has speed limits and they should be used by whatever AI as a limit NOT a target.

    In the UK there is no limit beyond 70mph, so why are we producing beasts that can do 180mph ?

    These things are an easy fix, just the inclination from the law makers is not there.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Fun Times Ahead

      " so why are we producing beasts that can do 180mph ?"

      With EVs, it's dead simple to put limits on maximum speed. If the whole whole country maxes at 70mph, a hard limit of 90mph would still give some margin for passing, but 100mph would be right out. Take a ferry to the continent? The car knows were it is and sets the global limit accordingly. Maybe you could also set the car to "track" mode if you take it on a closed course where you can drive as fast as you like. Once you leave the track, the car automatically resets.

      Even in an emergency, going substantially over the posted limits is not good. It will likely lead to another emergency.

  31. This post has been deleted by its author

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