Hacking fears drive Mercedes, BMW, Audi to bid for mapping software

Hacking fears drive Mercedes, BMW, Audi to bid for mapping software
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Concerns about the risk of hacking attacks on its vehicles is one of the factors driving a consortium of German automakers to make a billion-dollar bid for mapping software.

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said on an earnings call that concerns about hacking had partly driven the Mercedes-Benz parent company to join with three competitors in bidding for a mapping system being sold by Nokia, Reuters reported Thursday.

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"You can see from reading the papers that we are trying to acquire a platform together with our German competitors, to gain control over the platform which enables autonomous driving, for exactly these reasons," he said.

"We have the goal of designing security into the software."

Daimler, Volkswagen, BMW and Audi are bidding together for Nokia’s HERE system, which features high-definition maps that could be useful in building connected or self-driving cars. The group is close to finishing a deal, according to a separate Reuters report, with a bid between $2.74 billion and $3.29 billion.

The security of connected cars, which are linked into the mobile network, has become a concern among lawmakers.

On Tuesday, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyBooker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements Overnight Energy: Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal probe | Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change | GM to add 400 workers to build electric cars Why is my party prioritizing an extreme environmental agenda? MORE (D-Mass.) announced legislation that would direct federal regulators to institute standards for securing vehicles from cyberattacks.

“Rushing to roll out the next big thing, automakers have left cars unlocked to hackers and data-trackers,” Blumenthal said in a statement.

Security experts have warned that connected cars could be vulnerable to attacks that could harm drivers. In a Wired magazine article published this week, two security researchers remotely cut the transmission of a Jeep being driven by a reporter while he was on a Missouri highway.

Exploits like that come as more carmakers and regulators pledge to support connected cars. Self-driving cars are also being developed by Google and other companies, including ride-hailing giant Uber.