Intel has just made another step in its quest to become the leader in data processing for autonomous cars. The US chipmaker has made a large bet totalling $15.3bn (£12.5bn) which includes the acquisition of self-driving technology specialist Mobileye. This is the second largest deal in Intel’s 49-year history and will pay $63.54 a share in cash to acquire the Israeli company.
Mobileye and Intel were already working together with BMW to develop autonomous cars with the aim to have 40 test vehicles on the road in the second half of 2017. They hope the acquisition will enable them to offer other car manufacturers a one-stop shop for autonomous-driving technology.
“This acquisition is a great step forward for our shareholders, the automotive industry and consumers,” said Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO.
Together Intel and Mobileye will combine their best-in-class technologies to deliver driving solutions that will transform the automotive industry.
Ziv Aviram, Mobileye Co-Founder, President and CEO added: “By pooling together our infrastructure and resources, we can enhance and accelerate our combined know-how in the areas of mapping, virtual driving, simulators, development tool chains, hardware, data centers and high-performance computing platforms. Together, we will provide an attractive value proposition for the automotive industry.”
Intel is stepping up to the challenge with this investment, combining their resources to innovate a solution to handle 4 TB of data per day that is expected to be generated by autonomous cars in 2020.
INTEL INVESTS $250 MILLION IN AUTONOMOUS CAR COMPUTING POWER
30th November 2016
Autonomous vehicles are in the technology spotlight as they are gradually becoming the future of everyday transportation. However as we move into a new era of self-driving vehicles, a perhaps unexpected problem has come to light. It has become apparent that an enormous amount of data processing is required to power what are essentially data centres on wheels. It’s a problem, but Intel has stepped up to the challenge.
Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich announced in a keynote speech at the 2016 LA Auto Show, that the company will be placing their data processing muscle into autonomous driving technology with a $250 million capital investment. Although Intel is not actually going create their own fleet of cars, the computer chip manufacturer is serious about integrating their technology into autonomous vehicles. Krzanich predicts that the industry needs to prepare for the data barrage of over 4TB generated each day from a single self-driving car. This data will be collected via cameras, radar, sonar, GPS and LIDAR.
In Intel’s statement they revealed the company’s plans to be the first choice for automakers when it comes to processing the data collected in fully self-driving cars: “These investments will drive the development of technologies that push the boundaries on next-generation connectivity, communication, context awareness, deep learning, security, safety and more.”
Competition is brewing in the market as processing power is just as important as horsepower from the engine. In fact, Krzanich philosophically claims that “data is the new oil” during his keynote speech, drawing the parallels that oil was a key component which created the automotive world we know today, but data is a core factor in the car of the future.
However, concerns have arisen around transferring large quantities of data from self-driving cars which could be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. In light of this, start-ups developing security on open-platform technologies will receive funding by Intel Capital Foundation to “build security for this space and to drive innovation and collaboration across the industry.” Krzanich said.
Computer chip manufacturers have to work in synergy with automakers in order to equip autonomous cars with the required hardware to process all the data. For example, Tesla vehicles can now achieve full self-driving capability thanks to NVidia’s new supercomputer technology called NVidia Drive PX2. Intel are working alongside many leading global car manufacturers, such as BMW to bring their next-generation autonomous cars to market in 2021.
By 2021 the automotive industry we know could look very different - the fantasy of summoning your car, jumping in, having it drive you anywhere you want without having to intervene or pay attention is becoming a reality. However, no great technological advancement comes without its challenges, and this is no different. What sets a dream apart from reality is how we rise to challenges, and Intel is doing just that.