Europe’s biggest carmaker, Volkswagen AG (ETR: VOW3) (ADR/OTCMKTS: VLKAY), said it is jointly establishing CyMotive Technologies, an automotive and autonomous vehicle cyber security startup, in partnership with three leading Israeli experts led by Yuval Diskin, former head of the Israeli Security Services, together with Tsafrir Kats and Dr Tamir Bechor.
“The new cooperation will take an innovative and strategic approach to cyber security,” said Diskin, who will be serving as chairman of CyMotive.
Yuval Diskin served as the 12th Director of the Israeli Security Service Shabak, widely known by its Hebrew code letters “Shin Bet.” He was first appointed to the position by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2005, and subsequently served under Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert and Binyamin Netanyahu, until he retired in 2011, and started a career in high-tech.
CyMotive will be based in Herzliya, Israel, and in Wolfsburg, Germany. The Israeli team which will develop advanced cyber security solutions for next generation connected cars and mobile services, is said to hold a 60 percent majority stake in the joint venture, with VW holding a stake of 40 percent.
“Together with Volkswagen we are building a top-notch team of cyber security experts. We are aware of the significant technological challenges that will face us in the next years in dealing with the cyber security threats facing the connected car and the development of the autonomous car.” Diskin added.
The age of the connected car enables customers to use a variety of features inside modern vehicles. However, with increasing connectivity comes an increasing risk, says VW. Aspects such as intelligent and autonomous driving increase the number of interfaces in the vehicle and thus the risk of malicious attack.
Through this cooperation Volkswagen is further developing its core capabilities in the field of cyber security and is combining its forces with the expertise of the cyber security specialists from Israel, it says.
At the signing of the agreement, Volkmar Tanneberger, Head of Electrical and Electronic Development for the Volkswagen brand, said, “The car and the Internet are becoming increasingly integrated. To enable us to tackle the enormous challenges of the next decade, we need to expand our know-how in cyber security in order to systematically advance vehicle cyber security for our customers.”
“CyMotive Technologies provides an excellent platform for doing this. It is a long-term investment in cyber security to make vehicles and their ecosystem more secure,” added Tanneberger.
The German carmaker already has various other strategic partnerships with Israeli high-tech startups. In May, VW made a $300 million strategic investment in Gett (formerly GetTaxi), a global Israeli on-demand ride hailing provider.
Earlier this year, VW formed a partnership with Mobileye NV (NYSE: MBLY), to launch a pioneering crowd-sourced mapping technology for self-driving or autonomous cars.
File Photo (L to R): Gabi Ashkenazi, former Chief of General Staff of the IDF, with Yuval Diskin, former Director of the Israeli Security Service Shin Bet.