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Uber Hires Jeep Cherokee Hackers to Help Develop Autonomous Cars

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 8/31/2015 Kelly Pleskot

Uber is on a mission to develop its own self-driving cars, and to accomplish the goal, the company has hired the engineers behind the now infamous Jeep Cherokee hack.


Recently, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek remotely controlled a Jeep Cherokee while it was driving along the highway. In their tests, the hackers were able to shut off the vehicle's transmission and cut the brakes at low speeds. Starting this week, they will join Uber's Advanced Technology Center to help secure the company's future fleet of autonomous vehicles.

The decision follows a major hiring spree by Uber in the same vein. Earlier this year, Uber snatched more than 40 top robotics engineers from Carnegie Mellon University. The ridesharing company is also offering grant money to the University of Arizona toward the research of autonomous car technologies, which Uber will test on the streets of Arizona. MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image

In a statement to Reuters, Uber said Miller and Valasek will work "to continue building out a world-class safety and security program at Uber." Miller has previously worked as a security engineer at Twitter, while Valasek was the director of automobile security research at security firm IOActive.

While it may seem like a distant problem, car hacking has already started to concern major automakers. Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.4 million vehicles to better protect its cars against cyber attacks. That recall came out shortly after Miller and Valasek's Cherokee hack, which was performed to demonstrate vulnerabilities in Chrysler's Uconnect system. Tesla also recently issued a software update for added security after reports surfaced that hackers were able to manipulate a Model S.

Source: Reuters, Wired

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