Israel has emerged as a leader in the race to keep cars secure and prevent hacking your vehicle. International groups including Volkswagen, Harman International Industries and IBM have already bought local companies or invested in research centers.
Today, Volkswagen announced a joint new automotive cyber security venture, with the former head of Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency Yuval Diskin. “To develop cybersecurity systems for Internet-connected cars and self-driving vehicles, ” the partners said in a statement Wednesday.
“To enable us to tackle the enormous challenges of the next decade, we need to expand our know-how in cybersecurity in order to systematically advance vehicle cybersecurity for our customers, ” said Volkmar Tanneberger, head of electrical and electronic development at Volkswagen.
Also today, Israeli Company Foresight Auto, which develops an automotive machine vision technology based on 3D and video analysis, also announced that it has signed a memorandum of understandings with one of China’s largest car manufacturers. As part of this agreement, this undisclosed manufacturer will run field tests for Foresight’s safety solutions. The possibility of integrating the product in a car manufactured by this company will be examined.
Volkswagen new company, CyMotive Technologies, based near Tel Aviv, and will open an office in Wolfsburg, Germany, has been founded by former Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief Yuval Diskin, who has been consulting on cybersecurity in the private sector since retiring in 2011.
The statement did not say how much Volkswagen would invest in the new venture, but 40 percent will be owned by the German automaker and 60 percent by Yuval Diskin and two former colleagues.
The two are former head of the agency’s Technological Division Tsafrir Kats and former head of Shin Bet’s Information and Computerization Division, Dr. Tamir Bechor. Both acted as consultants to organizations regarding security in general and electronic security in particular.
The company will develop cybersecurity products for future autonomous and semi-autonomous cars, which will to a large extent be based on programs and communications with the smart road network and with other vehicles.
At the signing of the agreement on the founding of the new company, Dr. Volkmar Tanneberger, head of Electrical and Electronic Development for Volkswagen said, “The car and the Internet are becoming increasingly integrated. ..we need to expand our know-how in the fields of cyber and security…CyMotive Technologies is a long term investment in cyber security that requires the combined forces of Volkswagen and the cyber security specialists from Israel.”
Volkswagen, like other car manufacturers is at present actively engaged in scouting Israel for advanced automotive technologies, as well as relevant software and hardware firms. earlier this year Volkswagen invested $300 million in Israeli carpooling and taxi-hailing application Gett.