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Friday, July 01, 2016
BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye Team Up to Bring Autonomous Driving to Streets by 2021


BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye are joining forces to make self-driving vehicles and future mobility concepts become a reality.

Together with Intel and Mobileye, the BMW Group will develop the necessary solutions and systems for fully automated driving to bring these technologies into series production by 2021. The BMW iNEXT model will be the foundation for BMW Group’s autonomous driving strategy and set the basis for fleets of fully autonomous vehicles, not only on highways but also in urban environments for the purpose of automated ridesharing solutions.

The goal of the collaboration is to develop future-proofed solutions that enable the drivers to not only take their hands off the steering wheel, but reach the so called "eyes off" (level 3) and ultimately the "mind off" (level 4) level transforming the driver’s in-car time into leisure or work time. This level of autonomy would enable the vehicle, on a technical level, to achieve the final stage of traveling "driver off" (level 5) without a human driver inside.

On July 1, 2016, the three partners were present at the BMW Group Headquarters in Munich to define an open platform for autonomous driving. The common platform will address level 3 to level 5 automated driving and will be made available to multiple car vendors and other industries.

Near term, the companies will demonstrate an autonomous test drive with a highly automated driving (HAD) prototype. In 2017 the platform will extend to fleets with extended autonomous test drives.

The future of highly autonomous driving is promising, but there are significant challenges to solve worldwide. For example, how can you teach an autonomous car to react to unpredictable human drivers who might be drunk, texting or speeding? How and when will there be detailed, accurate maps of all the roads in the world? How do we make the world’s roadways smart so they can communicate with and warn cars about hazards and traffic?

These are challenges that the auto and tech industries and other experts are coming together to solve.

Automakers are chasing autonomous cars as fast as tech companies like Google. Google already has a self-driving car on the street, but it isn't perfect and has been involved in accidents.

BMW competitor Volvo is building an autonomous car with Nvidia, which offers chips and computers that can detect signals, objects, pedestrians, lanes, and signs. Nvidia provides a powerful water-cooled computer called Drive PX2 that is stored in the trunk of a car.

However, there is increased public skepticism about semi-autonomous and autonomous driving.

The On May 7, a driver who was using Tesla Motors' semi-autonomous mode had a fatal accident.

According to a Tesla statement issued Thursday, the cameras on Brown's Tesla Model S failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky and didn't automatically activate its brakes.

Tesla stressed that its Autopilot system is new, noting that drivers must manually enable it and that they "must maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle" while using the system.

Intel's role?

While the BMW-Mobileye connection has been known to industry observers, Intel was a surprise element in the three-way deal.

It’s not all that clear if the BMW-Mobileye-Intel agreement extends to plans of "Intel inside" the autonomous vehicle.

Intel may contribute to the platform by offering its CPUs as the 'computer' in an autonomous car, working in conjunction with Mobileye’s processor.

But more realistically, Intel may play a big role in the infrastructure side, rather than inside autonomous cars. Intel might provide and take care of the connectivity/telematics link, as well as connect the vehicle to the cloud, and the rest of the IoT to store and elaborate data, whether maps or data point & pattern for AI applications.

Intel already has underlying automotive technologies such as Wind River’s embedded operating system, software foundation and security expertise.

Earlier this year, Intel acquired Yogitech, which makes safety tools for autonomous car chips. In parallel, Intel’s Wind River unit bought Arynga, which offers GENIVI-compliant CarSync software for enabling Over-the-Air updates in automotive computers.

In May, Intel announced the acquisition of Itseez Inc., a company armed with Computer Vision algorithms and implementations for embedded and specialized hardware.

Intel’s role in the deal could be explained with the theory that Intel might become a potential foundry for Mobileye’s EyeQ5, which is expected to ready in two years and scheduled to be manufactured by using a 10nm or below FinFET technology node.



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