A t-shirt with a photo of a stop sign has tricked multiple autonomous vehicles into coming to a halt, revealing just how sensitive their safety systems are.

    Arizona resident Jason Carr decided to put the autonomous driving systems of Waymo’s robotaxis to the test by adorning a t-shirt with a rather convincing stop sign logo on it and standing near the edge of a road.

    Upon viewing the fake stop sign, the Waymo autonomous taxi – based on a Jaguar I-Pace – comes to a complete stop, only to resume driving when Mr Carr walks away or hides the t-shirt.

    After being questioned about the methodology, with some commenters claiming the car only stopped because it detected a pedestrian being on the road, Mr Carr put the t-shirt back on and stood on footpaths instead.

    Despite the change, the same result transpired, with Waymo robotaxis stopping in three out of the four additional tests, demonstrating it wasn’t just a one-time fault.

    These videos reveal the risks of showing just how easy it can be to fool autonomous vehicles into following unofficial directions. However, they’re also a reflection on how sensitively the safety systems are calibrated.

    While Waymo hasn’t faced the same hurdles as the now-suspended Cruise robotaxi service, an investigation into the former company was launched in February after one of its vehicles allegedly struck a cyclist in San Francisco.

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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