GM's self-driving car unit Cruise hires famous car hackers
SAN FRANCISCO — Charlie and Chris are getting the band back together.
Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, famed car hackers, have been hired by Cruise, GM's self-driving car division.
The duo made a big splash in 2015 when they hacked a Jeep and were able to stop it remotely, and again in 2016 when they further refined their work.
Hack of connected car raises alarm over driver safety
That effort was on their own dime, but they were subsequently scooped up by Uber as part of the San Francisco-based company's self-driving car initiative.
Five months ago, Miller jumped shipped for Didi Chuxing, the Chinese company that bought Uber’s assets there in 2016 and then opened artificial intelligence lab in Silicon Valley.
He was hired to be head Didi’s security and safety development teams, in part to aid its effort to create autonomous vehicles.
Get ready for a world of hackable cars
Valasek stayed at Uber, severing what had been a fruitful partnership between two men who are clearly great friends, given the banter between them when they present at computer security conferences.
Their separation ended over the weekend when they announced that both going to Cruise, which began as a San Francisco-based autonomous vehicle company that GM bought for more than $1 billion last August.
Automakers increasingly are trying to develop more of their self-driving car technology in-house, frequently at outposts based in Silicon Valley.
For example. Ford recently poured $1 billion in Argo AI, a new company aimed at developing the software necessary for cars to make sense of the data coming in from myriad on-board sensors.
And Lyft just announced that it would soon open Level 5, the name of a new building in Palo Alto, Calif., (named after the highest level of self-driving autonomy) that will eventually house hundreds of engineers working on the ride-hailing company's self-driving tech.
Lyft rival Uber also has a large self-driving car program, based in Pittsburgh, but its work has been hampered of late due to an ongoing lawsuit from Google self-driving car company Waymo.
Waymo claims that Uber's light detection and ranging software was developed partly thanks to 14,000 proprietary files stolen from Google by its former employee Anthony Levandowski, who went on to found self-driving truck company Otto, which Uber bought for around $690 million last summer.
Levandowski has since left Uber, and the trial is expected to begin in October.