Less than a day after completing the tender offer to formally acquire Mobileye, Intel is jumpstarting work between the two companies with the announcement of plans to build a fleet of 100 autonomous test cars.
Mobileye is a leader in developing machine learning and vision as well as mapping for advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving. Intel will leverage these skills to begin work on Level 4 SAE cars. SAE is short for Society of Automotive Engineers, and they have developed specific levels that describe a car’s autonomous driving capabilities. Level 4 is one below the highest standard of autonomous driving, and it is characterized by a car’s ability to maneuver dynamic driving environments, from traffic jams to construction on the road, and still maintain safety even if the driver does not intervene when asked.
The first vehicles will be deployed as early as this year, with the rest to follow soon after. The initial markets will be the US, Israel and Europe. Expect to see the inaugural Intel and Mobileye controlled autonomous car in Arizona, most likely a BMW 7, as Intel announced a partnership with them earlier this year.
“Building cars and testing them in real-world conditions provides immediate feedback and will accelerate delivery of technologies and solutions for highly and fully autonomous vehicles,” said Amnon Shashua, future CEO of Mobileye. “Our goal is to develop autonomous vehicle technology that can be deployed anywhere, which means we need to test and train the vehicles in varying locations.”
In building these autonomous cars, Intel hopes to deliver a complete “car-to-cloud” offering. This means combining proprietary technologies and design elements from Mobileye with Intel’s 5G communication capabilities and data centre expertise. This may prove more difficult as time progresses, as Intel is planning on using several different kinds of cars and companies in the long-term goal of becoming brand agnostic.
“Our customers will benefit from our ability to use this fleet to accelerate our technology development,” says Shashua. “We want to enable automakers to deliver driverless cars faster while reducing costs – data we collect will save our customers significant costs.”
Intel will package all of their findings into an autonomous driving kit, and then offer that to original equipment manufacturers like Volvo or GM by 2019. The company is competing for autonomous driving autonomy with other leading companies like Uber and Google’s Waymo.