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Driverless vehicles will be behind $7 trillion worth of economic activity and new efficiencies annually by 2050. That activity will include nearly $4 trillion from driverless ride-hailing and nearly $3 trillion from driverless delivery and business logistics, according to a study cited by fortune.com.
This thriving market is being challenged by severe cyber security risks. All automakers have been ramping up cyber security efforts as self-driving vehicles inch closer to reality. Some have started to pay outside security experts bounties for their hacking information. Fiat Chrysler last year began to offer up to $1,500 bounties for information through a partnership with Bugcrowd Inc., a crowdsourced security-testing company.
General Motors has recently hired two well-known security researchers who hacked into a Jeep SUV in order to help ensure the cyber security of its self-driving cars.
According to detroitnews.com, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek have been hired by GM subsidiary Cruise Automation, an autonomous vehicle software tech startup GM bought last year. A GM spokeswoman said that Miller and Valasek also would be integrated into GM’s cyber security team as software engineers.
“Miller and Valasek will be focused on the many challenges related to securing the autonomous vehicle ecosystem,” a GM spokeswoman said. “Our cybersecurity mantra recognizes that in order to prevent the worst, you need to engage the best. We believe we can build more secure systems by bringing on the people who excel at defeating them. Protecting the safety and security of our customers is of utmost importance.”
The security researchers are known for their remote hack of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee that included disabling the SUV’s engine functions and controlling interior features such as air conditioning, locks and the radio. The hack led to Fiat Chrysler recalling 1.4 million vehicles that were shown to be vulnerable to computer hacking. Owners of Jeeps, Chryslers, Dodges and Rams with vulnerable entertainment systems were sent a flash drive to upgrade vehicle software.
Cruise Automation was purchased by GM to help it with autonomous vehicle software development. GM and Cruise are testing more than 50 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EVs in Metro Detroit, San Francisco and Scottsdale.