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Mobileye’s Latest Moves Will Strengthen Intel’s Clout in Autonomous Cars

By Harsh Chauhan - Dec 9, 2017 at 7:34PM

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The Intel-Mobileye combine is pulling the right strings to make a dent in autonomous driving technology.

Intel's (INTC -2.20%) acquisition of Mobileye earlier this year has put the chipmaker firmly on track to make a big dent in the autonomous vehicle industry. In fact, Chipzilla now seems to be in pole position to win the self-driving car race after it came to light that Alphabet's Waymo is using Intel chips to power its autonomous vehicles, pushing NVIDIA down the pecking order thanks to Mobileye's terrific partner ecosystem.

More specifically, Mobileye boasts that over 25 automakers across the globe use its technology. Additionally, 27 OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners are working with it to develop advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and fully autonomous vehicles. But Mobileye wants to go a few steps further and bring more companies into Intel's ecosystem, and its latest moves could help it achieve the same.

Person reading a book while sitting behind the wheel of a self-driving car.

Image source: Getty Images.

Mobileye could open up its designs to lure more partners

Some carmakers have stayed away from Mobileye's solutions because it doesn't give its clients access to the design of its systems. But Mobileye may be looking to mend this. Wendel Brooks, the president of Intel Capital, who brokered the Mobileye acquisition, recently revealed that the computer vision specialist may be planning to open up its architecture to land more Tier 1 automakers. In an interview with C-Tech, Brooks said: "The tier ones -- if we go to a model where we open up our architecture and share with them more, I think we can satisfy their need to have a technology partner as well, different from the way Mobileye operated their business."

Such a move should attract more automakers and component suppliers into Intel's fold. Chipzilla plans to start manufacturing fully autonomous vehicles in partnership with BMW by 2021, a timeline that rival NVIDIA is trying to hit as well. Meanwhile, Tier 1 automotive component supplier Delphi is already working with Mobileye to launch a self-driving platform by 2019.

Mobileye's latest technology aims to build confidence in autonomous vehicles

The driving public is not totally on board with being on the road with vehicles not driven by humans. Mobileye's latest Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS) aims to create an AI system that would operate within parameters making it so it could never be blamed for an accident, which would help build trust in autonomous vehicles.

Intel used as an example a scenario in which an autonomous vehicle can be programmed to never drive itself in a way that violates a safe distance from cars around it, including human-driven ones. Mobileye's formula will perform calculations based on inputs from the cameras mounted on the vehicle, as well as high-definition maps, and radar and lidar (light detection and ranging) systems.

The company plans to integrate these three components to create a "Sensor Fusion" system that will help reduce collisions and accidents in self-driving cars. Therefore, Mobileye can break new ground in autonomous vehicle safety. This should enhance the appeal of Intel's self-driving car platform, setting the chipmaker on its way to tap a market that's expected to gain massive traction.

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