Car hacking may be a hot topic but BMW's senior vice president for electronics, Christoph Grote, said it is not unfamiliar territory. The industry has been finding ways to stop another form of unauthorized entry, car theft, for years. He spoke with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Olive Keogh about how that experience will help BMW.
How big a potential problem is hacking for the automotive industry?
It's a fashionable topic but not entirely new to us. We have been exposed to a similar threat in the form of car theft for a long time. In that sense we have a technical history of preventing car theft and preventing people from starting our cars without a key. However, the threat of manipulating the car has definitely increased. We've made efforts for quite a while to test if someone can penetrate our cars. We've hired talent not just to build systems that are as resilient as possible to hacking, but also people who are good at it in order to test ourselves.
The threat of hacking is making people nervous about connected cars. Should they be worried?
With respect to BMW, I am very positive that we have the right competencies within the company to defeat them. But the truth of hacking is that you are never done. It's not a situation where we can ever say we know we are safe forever.