August 22, 2013
Google Partners Up With Continental For Self-Driving Car
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
German auto parts maker Continental AG is nearing a partnership with American companies Google and IBM to develop an automated car. The search company turned sci-fi evangelist has steadily been making progress on their self-driving vehicle and has even shown off the progress they’ve made on multiple occasions. According to a Reuters report, Continental will announce the two partnerships during the Frankfurt Car Show next month.
These three companies will join the ranks of several other automakers working to be the first to deliver the world’s first commercially available autonomously driving vehicle. Audi, Lexus and Toyota, for instance, each showed off their own iterations during this year’s consumer electronics show.
The Daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a German newspaper, first mentioned the alliances between Continental AG, Google and IBM, but did not go into specifics about how the partnership will work. Continental is expected to deliver auto parts such as brakes, stability control systems and even tires to both companies to develop automated driving systems. The report does not mention building actual vehicles, however, only building the autonomous systems to guide them. Spokespeople from both Continental and Google declined to comment on the potential partnership.
Continental is already working with one computer company to bring high tech into the world of automobiles. By partnering with Cisco Systems, Continental hopes to deliver data transfer systems into cars in the near future. Technology like this could help autonomous cars communicate with one another as they’re navigating the highways together.
Google has also been steadily working to develop their self-driving car since 2010 and has fleets of these vehicles being tested in California, Florida and Nevada. The search company was able to persuade the state of California last year to legalize self-driving cars on public roadways as they continue to improve their offering.
While delivering these automobiles is no doubt a challenge, these automakers and suppliers will also have to find ways to make these vehicles immune to attacks from malicious hackers. Forbes writer Andy Greenberg recently took to a test track with an autonomous vehicle and two security researchers as they showed him the many vulnerabilities they’ve discovered with autonomous driving systems from Ford and Toyota.
Charlie Miller, a security engineer for Twitter and Chris Valasek, a director security intelligence at IOActive have been tasked by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to discover all potential security flaws with these cars. Armed with a laptop, these two were able to make the speedometer read the wrong speed, overload all sensors and thereby cause the car to turn off, or even disable the brakes, potentially sending the vehicle and the passengers flying into the nearest solid object.
The Frankfurt Car Show where these partnerships are expected to be announced kicks off on September 10.