Here’s Why Volkswagen Is Working With Israel’s Ex-Spy Chief

September 14, 2016, 12:06 PM UTC
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WOLFSBURG, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 23: Rain clouds are seen over a Volkswagen symbol at the main entrance gate at Volkswagen production plant on September 23, 2015 in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and other members of the supervisory board are believed to be meeting inside the headquarters to discuss the Volkswagen Diesel emission scandal, which affects 11 million vehicles worldwide. (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)
Photograph by Alexander Koerner/ Getty Images

Volkswagen is forming a company with the former head of Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency to develop cybersecurity systems for Internet-connected cars and self-driving vehicles, the partners said in a statement Wednesday.

The new company, CyMotive Technologies, will be 40% owned by the German automaker and 60% by Yuval Diskin and two former colleagues who also had senior posts in the Shin Bet.

The statement did not say how much Volkswagen would invest in the venture, which has an office in a suburb of Tel Aviv and will also open one in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Building on its expertise in technology, Israel has emerged as a leader in the race to keep cars secure and prevent the nightmare scenario of a hacker commandeering your vehicle.

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International groups including Harman International Industries (HAR) and IBM (IBM) have already bought local companies or invested in research centers.

“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.

Diskin has been consulting on cybersecurity in the private sector since retiring from the Shin Bet in 2011 and will serve as CyMotive’s chairman.

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