By Buying Mobileye, Intel Jumps Firmly Into Driverless Car Race

“Intel now has a very big footprint in all parts of the autonomous vehicle, the brains, the sensors, the information side, the mapping,” said Mike Ramsey, a Gartner analyst who tracks the development of self-driving cars. “The acquisition clearly puts Intel in the conversation. It guarantees they will be a player.”

There are increasing signs that autonomous cars have arrived — and may be driving on our city streets sooner than we think.

Intel announced its intention to acquire Mobileye in March. The two companies have been working with BMW on self-driving cars and are partners with Delphi Automotive, a supplier of advanced automotive electronics and software.

Intel and Mobileye aim to demonstrate the strength of their combined capabilities in the next several months by building a fleet of 100 self-driving test vehicles.

“This is our way to put the technology out so it can be demonstrated not only for automakers but for society, for regulators,” Mr. Shashua, who will become a senior vice president of Intel, said in an interview.

Despite their multitude of sensors and processors, autonomous cars have a lot of trouble with some everyday aspects of driving.

Test cars will be sent first to Arizona and then to Jerusalem, a challenging environment with narrow streets and aggressive drivers. “If you can successfully drive autonomously in Jerusalem, you can drive almost anywhere in the world,” Mr. Shashua said.

Such a fleet would give Intel something to rival Google’s autonomous driving division, now called Waymo. Over the past year, Waymo has built a sizable test fleet using minivans made by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and it is operating them in several cities. Uber is running tests in Pittsburgh, while General Motors, Ford Motor and other traditional automakers are creating their own test fleets.

At the same time, the combination of Intel and Mobileye will begin working on a new self-driving system that combines Intel chips and Mobileye’s technology. Mr. Shashua said the new system would be about twice as powerful as Mobileye’s current product based on its EyeQ5 processor.

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The system will include several key components of a self-driving car — cameras, image-processing capabilities, microprocessors and mapping technology, as well as software that determines how to react to driving situations, pedestrians and other vehicles, known as “driving policy.”

The technology will be designed to allow automakers to add their own self-driving software. “Car manufacturers will want to imprint their own characteristics on the system, how they want it to feel and how they want it to drive,” said Brian M. Krzanich, Intel’s chief executive.

Still, it will not be easy for Intel to pull automakers away. Nvidia offers chips with more raw processing power, which “have been getting a lot of wins lately,”’ Mr. Ramsey said.

Toyota recently chose Nvidia technology for the self-driving cars it is developing.

 

August 09, 2017

Sources:` New York Times

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