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China's auto industry moves to protect cyber security

CHANGCHUN -- China has established an automotive cyber security committee to ensure the safe running of intelligent, connected and electric cars.

The founding of the committee was announced on Thursday at an ongoing international automobile technology forum in Changchun, capital of Jilin province and a cradle of China's automaking industry.

"The committee has been established as a platform to pool resources, carry out research and work out standards, policies, laws and regulations to defend cyber security in automobiles," said Zhang Jinhua, vice secretary-general of the China Society of Automotive Engineers.

The committee is headed by Li Jun, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and technical chief of Changchun-based FAW Group Corporation.

Cyber safety has become crucial in the automotive sector as cars are becoming intelligent and interconnected. Many automakers have partnered with Internet companies to intensify cyber security.

General Motors Co announced in March it was acquiring Cruise Automation, hoping to accelerate its development of autonomous vehicles by using Cruise's software talent and rapid development capability.

The safety of ever-more high-tech cars has also caught the attention of worldwide IT specialists, particularly after a fatal Tesla crash in Florida in May.

"Intelligent cars are vulnerable to hackers' attacks when they are connected to the web," said Wang Yingmin, chief engineer of Datang Telecom.

Under such attacks, he said, cars may receive false orders leading to sudden braking, speeding or swerving that may threaten human lives.

Similar threats also come from electromagnetic and ultrasonic interferences, said Wang.

"It's easy to restart your smart phone, but what if your intelligent car breaks down on the fast lane of an expressway?" questioned Zhao Fuquan, an auto specialist from Tsinghua University.

Auto cyber security has caught the attention of the Chinese government, according to Chen Chunmei, an official from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

"We are working on blueprints of intelligent and connected vehicles, which will cover their roles in mitigating traffic congestion and reducing risk of accidents, as well as intensified cyber security to ensure their safe running," she said.

The blueprints will be published at "an opportune time," according to Chen.

"We're doing our best to predict cyber attacks," said Li Jun, head of the new committee. "Auto cyber security needs common rules, which is a global issue that calls for concerted efforts from regulators and industries from all countries."

David Schutt, chief executive officer of the US Society of Automotive Engineers, said Chinese have a lot of talent, enthusiasm and professionalism in science and engineering, and that he hopes China would therefore share its own technology and know-how in auto cyber security.

(Xinhua), added at 7/16/2016

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