Merchant Innovation

Uber Hires Jeep Security Hackers

Uber has hired the two high-profile security hackers that exposed a major automobile security loophole by hacking into a moving Jeep Cherokee earlier this month.

Charlie Miller, who worked for Twitter Inc., and Chris Valasek, who worked for security company IOActive, will be starting at Uber sometime this week. The addition is being seen as Uber’s move to amp up its work on self-driving cars, Reuters reported.

The duo would be working for Uber’s Pittsburgh-based Advanced Technologies Center, which the company is reportedly using for researching and building up self-driving car technology.

Raffi Krikorian, Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center’s head, tweeted a welcome note to the duo on Friday (Aug. 28).

They will work with the company’s top security officers “to continue building out a world-class safety and security program at Uber,” an Uber spokeswoman told Reuters.

The move comes after the ride-hailing service announced a new partnership last Tuesday with the University of Arizona to research mapping and safety technology using grant money funded by Uber. The company said it plans to test its self-driving cars in Tuscon, Arizona.

Though self-driving cars would mean a major business model change for Uber, it would also put more money into the pockets of the company, which was recently valued at $51 billion.

As Uber competes with other companies such as Google, which are working on developing self-driving cars, Uber is amping up its efforts to make the switch to driverless cars faster.

In March, the company bought San Jose, CA-based deCarta — a digital mapping firm, which offers search and turn-by-turn directions technology.

Like Miller and Valasek, the company is also investing in hiring top research scholars. In May this year, the company poached over 40 top scientists and researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics lab, which left the university scrambling to recover from the loss.

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