Self driving cars, the latest bug to have bitten the automotive industry has now taken over most of Silicon Valley too. Intel Corporation, the latest entrant in this very exclusive club that boasts of extremely prolific names such as Google, Amazon, Tesla, Ford etc. announced that it will put on road a hundred self driving vehicles in different locations across the world, i.e., Israel, Europe and the USA. It aims to do so by the end of the current calendar year, i.e,. December 2017.
Intel's recent acquisition of Mobileye, an Israeli technology company that develops advanced vision based driver assistance systems, for 15.3 billion USD is what is powering their cause. The primary terms of this deal enable Intel to draw upon Mobileye’s expertise in the field of sensors and computer vision with Intel providing its own expertise in cloud communication systems. Intel has also announced that it will boost its current efforts on improving processing power as well as its 5G technology.
Since the Mobileye acquisition had been announced mid last year, BMW and Chrysler too have come on board, thus strengthening this alliance. Experts state that at least 500 dollars worth of semiconductors are needed to make a single driverless car function.
Amnon Shashua, Senior Vice President, Intel and future Mobileye executive states that “Building cars and testing them in real world conditions provides the required immediate feedback”. This is what he believes will accelerate the delivery of more advanced technologies and techniques required to make the fully autonomous car or vehicle a reality.
The reason for choosing such a diverse testing ground as per Amnon Shashua is to gather as much information as possible. Geography is a very important factor that plays an inherent part in the driving styles of people all over the world due to the different signage, driving attitude and road conditions. Intel wants to develop autonomous technology that can be put to use in any part of the world and not just for a specific location. This very dream requires the vehicles be tested and trained in conditions as diverse as possible.
Intel aims to reach Level-4 in autonomy by this year's end, which is the second highest level as per the current SAE classification systems. Delivering a hundred cars by the year end, is what Intel believes, will help them in demonstrating how capable and adaptive the hybrid system is, due to the diverse customer needs?
Intel Chief Brian Krzanich said that formation of the alliance will help to attain stronger results in short span of time, as no other companies alone have the expertise required to converts the vision of autonomous cars a possibility. He also added that the prospects rely on the auto and tech industry leaders working together to develop a scalable architecture that automakers around the globe can adapt and customize.
The possibility of a hundred ready functional vehicles by the year's end, sure does, look a heck of a lot more promising now.