As a number of Silicon Valley automotive firms battle to keep a firm grip hold on new technology that is advancing at an unbelievable speed, Intel took a step towards breaking new territory. Intel announced on Wednesday that it plans to develop a fleet of self-driving cars.
The announcement came a day after closing a $15.3 billion deal to buy Mobileye, which specializes in driver-assistance systems. Intel said it will look to roll out fully autonomous vehicles later this year for testing in Europe, Israel, and the U.S. For now, as part of the prototype and test phase, Intel will launch 100 cars. The number will eventually increase and so will the number of cities in which the rollout will go into effect.
“The testing in real-world conditions provides immediate feedback and will accelerate delivery of technologies and solutions for highly and fully autonomous vehicles. Our goal is to develop autonomous vehicle technology that can be deployed anywhere,” said Mobileye co-founder Amnon Shashua, who is also running the unit for Intel.
The Intel test models will include various makes and models of vehicles and will capitalize on Mobileye’s expertise in computer vision, mapping, and sensing technology.
“We want to enable automakers to deliver driverless cars faster while reducing costs,” Shashua said.
The vehicles will reportedly be offering “level 4” autonomy, which under industry standards represents a “high” level of autonomy just below the fully automated level 5.
Many major Silicon Valley and tech firms have been working towards tapping into the self-driving automobile market.
Apple has a testing permit in California. German luxury carmaker Daimler and auto parts supplier Bosch have announced plans to work together to create completely driverless cars in the next few years.
As is well-known, U.S. based Tesla boasts that all its models are built with the hardware for self-driving in the event regulators give the technology a green light.
“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. Geographic diversity is very important as different regions have very diverse driving styles as well as different road conditions and signage. 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,” said Amnon Shashua, soon-to-be senior vice president of Intel and future CEO / CTO of Mobileye.