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Two White Hats Hack a Tesla, Get to Keep it

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Written by Tomas Foltyn, security writer at ESET

A duo of white-hat hackers have earned themselves a brand new Tesla Model 3 after exposing a vulnerability in the car’s integrated browser.

Richard Zhu and Amat Cam, aka team ‘Fluoroacetate’, managed to break into the electric sedan via its infotainment system at the Pwn2Own hacking contest in Vancouver, Canada. They exploited a JIT (or ‘just-in-time’) bug in the browser renderer process to display a message on the infotainment system.

In addition to walking away with the car, Zhu and Cam received US$35,000 for discovering the bug, reads a Zero Day Initiative report. It’s worth noting that the flaw didn’t enable the ethical hackers to take control of the vehicle itself.

We reported in January that Tesla had decided to put up one of its models as a target at the event that took place between March 20-22. The duo had a pretty good few days at the event, having scooped $375,000 in prize money in total, including for finding flaws in Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge, VMware Workstation, Oracle Virtualbox, and Windows 10.

In its statement after Zhu and Cam’s find, the electric automaker said that a fix for the vulnerability (classified as CVE-2019-9977) was on its way. “In the coming days we will release a software update that addresses this research,” reads a statement from Tesla. “We understand that this demonstration took an extraordinary amount of effort and skill, and we thank these researchers for their work to help us continue to ensure our cars are the most secure on the road today.”

Tesla launched its own bug bounty program in 2014 and has since given away hundreds of thousands of US dollars in rewards for reporting vulnerabilities in its vehicle systems. According to Teslarati, last year saw the company extend the program to its energy products.

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The Elite Cars Launches Zenvo Aurora in the Region

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The Elite Cars, the authorized distributor of Danish-brand Zenvo Automotive across the MENA region, launched the Zenvo Aurora on February 21, 2024. Inspired by the majestic Aurora Borealis, the newest model comes in two distinct and purposeful derivatives, the Agil and Tur, and will be limited to just 50 pieces of each model. Notably, nearly 50% of the highly-anticipated models have already been booked for pre-production.

Mahmoud Imran, Sales and Operations Manager at The Elite Cars and Chairman of the Board and Chief Commercial Officer of Zenvo, Jens Sverdrup, introduced the eagerly awaited hypercar. The grand reveal was orchestrated by a synchronised light performance that emulated the graceful and impactful movements of the Aurora Borealis. Renowned for crafting artisan hypercars, Zenvo stands out with the Aurora as its lightest and most innovative model to date, starting at Euros 2.590 million (approximately AED 11-12 million). It features the most powerful V12 engine ever fitted to a road car. At the heart, a 6.6-litre quad-turbocharged V12 engine paired with lightweight electric motors produces 1850 hp for the Tur and 1450 hp for the Agil.

Designed by in-house chief designer, Christian Brandt, both derivatives bring Danish artistry and ingenuity to the hypercar market for the first time, inspired by the famous ‘form follows function’ design language. Utilising Formula 1 technologies and processes, the Aurora is designed with driving pleasure in mind, achieving the 0-100km/h sprint in as little as 2.3 seconds, and to a top speed of 450 km/h. With both two- and four-wheel-drive drivetrains, it can travel up to 35 km on pure electric power.

Both models feature a lightweight chassis design, cleanly channelling the airflow through the structure to aid downforce and stability. The aerodynamically aggressive Aurora Agil features a stripped-out cabin and rear-wheel drive system as standard, tipping the scales at 1,300kg, with a clear focus on track driving. The more classically styled Aurora Tur offers elevated luxury and is a permanent four-wheel-drive, with two additional electric motors on the front wheels providing 200 bph each, enhancing speed and stability for road driving.

“We are filled with immense pride as we officially unveil the limited-edition Zenvo Aurora in the UAE as the authorised distributor for the brand across the region. This partnership between The Elite Cars and Zenvo is a natural synergy, as we both share a deep passion for automotive excellence, a commitment to exceeding expectations and a dedication to providing clientele with the greatest in luxury and performance,” said Tamer Abu Khalaf,  Co-Founder at The Elite Cars. “With the UAE as a global hub of luxury, the Zenvo Aurora represents the pinnacle of artisanal craftsmanship for automotive enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike, offering an unparalleled ownership experience.”

“We are thrilled to be unveiling the Zenvo Aurora for the first time in the UAE market with our partners The Elite Cars,” explains the Chairman of the Board and Chief Commercial Officer of Zenvo, Jens Sverdrup. “The new model is best described as an equilibrium of extremes. We just wanted to build an uncompromised driver’s car, which delivered on every level, but without any one aspect negatively impacting another. The outcome has given us two models, which complement each other, deliver true driving pleasure and, almost as a byproduct, offer incredible performance.”

Zenvo Aurora will be hand-built at the Zenvo headquarters in Præstø, Denmark, with first deliveries expected in 2026.

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HONOR Says its Eye-Tracking Features Can Move a Car

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HONOR has introduced an AI-powered eye-tracking feature that can move a car without a driver inside. This experiment, demonstrated by an automotive engineer, uses the eye-tracking feature of the HONOR Magic6 Pro to control a car based on the user’s eye movement.

A video by Autocar, available on YouTube, showcases this innovative technology. The HONOR Magic6 Pro is equipped with four commands that can be activated by eye gaze, allowing the car to start the engine, turn it off, and move forward or backwards. After focusing on a specific button for 2-3 seconds, the corresponding command is activated, and the car responds accordingly.

HONOR says that this demonstration is a testament to the company’s belief that AI can transform the way humans interact with devices in the future. HONOR has announced that its MWC Launch Event will be on February 25th. HONOR will also host an AI Panel with industry partners such as Qualcomm to unveil more discoveries about the future of AI. This event will take place on February 26th at 17:00 (CET) at MWC 2024. Find out more at this link: https://www.hihonor.com/ae-en/events/honor-mwc/

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Polestar 3 Launches in the UAE

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Al-Futtaim Electric Mobility Company, the official distributor of Polestar in the UAE, have announced the official launch of Polestar 3. Polestar 3 is also the brand’s first vehicle planned to be produced on two continents – marking a milestone in green mobility in the UAE and adding a luxury high-performance electric alternative to the most popular car segment in the country – SUVs.

Featuring a unique design language inspired by Polestar Precept and Scandinavian minimalism, Polestar 3 is a fully electric 5-seat luxury SUV with a power range of up to 380 kW and 910 Nm of torque. Marking Polestar’s entry into the thriving electric SUV market, Polestar 3 introduces a new aerodynamic profile with a focus on retaining SUV characteristics and features subtle yet effective aerodynamic optimisations – such as a front aero wing integrated into the bonnet, an aero wing integrated into the rear spoiler, and rear aero blades.

In the UAE, Polestar 3 prototypes were tested last year with temperatures reaching up to 50°C, aimed to fine-tune the vehicle’s climate system as a part of extreme weather tests to ensure optimal performance. The launch of Polestar 3 in the UAE is also in line with the official distributor of Polestar in the UAE, Al-Futtaim Electric Mobility Company’s pioneering role in developing a new sustainable mobility ecosystem that contributes to the country’s firm commitment to net-zero by 2050.

Hasan Nergiz, Managing Director, Al-Futtaim Electric Mobility Company, said, “Polestar 3 is one of the most anticipated electric vehicles worldwide, and of course, we are thrilled to bring this car into the region. For us, this is the car that will unlock the UAE market for Polestar, as it redefines what SUVs can do in terms of performance in the electric age while enabling zero carbon emissions. It is also a strong manifestation of our commitment to continue spearheading the sustainable mobility transition of the country, and delivering the best of performance, luxury and sustainability, all at the same time. The introduction of Polestar 3 is perfectly timed, as Al-Futtaim continue to drive investments in shaping an end-to-end electric mobility ecosystem across the UAE, including our charging stations and the region’s first IMI-certified e-mobility training centre launched by us last year.”

Polestar 3 is available at launch with a dual-motor configuration with a power bias towards the rear and an optional Performance Pack for increased power and torque. It boasts a 111 kWh battery pack with a driving range of up to 610km WLTP*. Polestar 3 is also equipped for bidirectional charging, enabling future potential for vehicle-to-grid and plug-and-charge capabilities in the future.

Polestar 3 is equipped with central computing using the NVIDIA DRIVE core computer and carries next-generation advanced active and passive safety technology from Volvo Cars as part of its DNA. This includes the latest innovation – interior radar sensors that can detect sub-millimetre movements in the interior of the car, to help protect against accidentally leaving children or pets inside. This is also linked to the climate control system to avoid heat stroke or hypothermia. Further collaborations with industry-leading safety technology partners like Zenseact, Luminar and Smart Eye, provide Polestar 3 with cutting-edge ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) technology that integrates seamlessly thanks to the centralised computing power.

The infotainment system is powered by a next-generation Snapdragon Cockpit Platform from Qualcomm Technologies, providing an immersive in-vehicle experience. The infotainment interface is powered by Android Automotive OS and features Google built-in, an evolution of the ground-breaking system first introduced in Polestar 2. Materials used inside Polestar 3 have been selected for their sustainability credentials while raising premium aesthetics and luxury tactility. These include bio-attributed MicroTech, animal welfare-certified leather from Bridge of Weir, and fully traceable wool upholsteries.

Standard equipment includes air suspension, a panoramic glass roof, all-LED lighting, retractable door handles, and 21-inch alloy wheels. Optional packs, such as the Pilot Pack with LiDAR from Luminar and the Performance Pack, offer additional capabilities and performance enhancements. A significant aspect of the Polestar brand in the UAE is the powerful aftersales support network dedicated to electric and hybrid vehicles developed by Al-Futtaim Electric Mobility Company. Recognising that the maintenance of green mobility vehicles needs a new kind of expertise, the company offers dedicated training on e-mobility technologies at their IMI-certified training academy.

The Polestar 3 Long-range Dual motor is now available for order, with a starting price of AED 360,000. 

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