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Intel driving up an autonomous path
Computing giant Intel expands rapidly into autonomous driving tech
17 Aug 2017
AMERICAN computer chip giant Intel is positioning itself to become a major player in autonomous vehicle technologies by buying into leading tech companies and forging partnerships with motor manufacturers and phone companies in a rapid-fire expansion.
This month alone, Intel has completed a $US15.3 billion ($A19.2b) buy-out of Israel-based driver assistance technology specialist Mobileye, joined a consortium of mainly Japanese companies including Toyota and Denso to develop new-generation car computing and mobile connectivity systems for the autonomous era, and welcomed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) into an existing consortium with BMW to develop a world-leading autonomous car platform.
Earlier this year, it announced it had shelled out $US3 billion for a 15 per cent stake in the Here mapping service from majority owners BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
Founded by Nokia, Here is a rival for Google in the global mapping sphere and a major supplier of sat-nav maps – including super-accurate laser-scanned 3D maps for next-generation vehicles – and related technologies that will be central to autonomous driving.
In making these moves, Intel is ensuring it has plenty of skin in the autonomous vehicle game, thus taking the battle up to rivals such as Silicon Valley’s Google and Tesla.
Announcing that FCA would join the BMW/Mobileye/Intel autonomous platform consortium, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the future of transportation relied on auto and tech industry leaders working together to develop a scalable architecture that auto-makers around the globe could adopt and customise.
“We’re thrilled to welcome FCA’s contribution, bringing us a step closer to delivering the world’s safest autonomous vehicles,” he said.
The original members of the consortium teamed up in July last year with the objective of developing highly automated (Level 3) and fully automated (Level 4/5) driving systems.
The team says it is on track to deploy 40 autonomous test vehicles on the road by the end of this year.
As well, the group’s engineers are accumulating data from a further 100 Level 4 test vehicles launched by Mobileye to demonstrate the scale effect of the collaborative approach.
The consortium members say they will welcome other motor companies to sign up to the autonomous platform project in an effort to create an industry-wide solution.
Meanwhile, Intel has inked a deal with another consortium of automotive and phone companies in Japan to develop computing systems to support future vehicles in the autonomous era when cars will share vast volumes of data to the cloud.
Apart from Intel, partners include Toyota, Denso, Ericsson, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT), and NTT subsidiary DoCoMo.
Called Automotive Edge Computing Consortium, the group says it also will invite other players to join the project to help come up with new network architectures and computing infrastructure to handle data volume between vehicles and the cloud that is expected to grow 10,000 times by 2025.
In computing terms, this is 10 exabytes of information, which is equivalent to 10 billion gigabytes.
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