BMW To Partner With Intel And Mobileye To Develop Autonomous Driving Technology
Is this BMW’s answer to the Ford-Volvo-Google partnership?by Kirby, on
It’s safe to say that the race to develop autonomous driving technology is heating up as more and more automakers are looking to the tech industry in an effort to form partnerships with some of the biggest tech giants in the business. German automaker BMW appears to be the latest to do it, as the company just announced a partnership with computer chip manufacturer Intel and collision detection specialist Mobileye. This partnership wants to find solutions so that the automated driving will be put into series production by 2021.
The partnership is reportedly centered on Mobileye’s fifth-generation chips, called the EyeQ5. Information is minimal on what the chip’s capabilities are, but it is expected to give self-driving cars better reflexes by using real-time road mapping when drivers are disengaged. For its part, Intel is reportedly involved in the partnership to provide the central processor unit that will coordinate with Mobileye’s new software to translate the technology into future BMW models.
It’s worth noting that alliances between automakers and tech firms have grown in recent months, all because of the same pursuit of developing autonomous driving vehicles. Back in April 2016, Ford, Volvo, Google, and ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft all struck a deal to expedite their own development of autonomous driving technology.
BMW is in a unique position with its partnership with Intel and Mobileye as it can leverage the core strengths of both companies into its own development of self-driving vehicles. More details are expected to be revealed during a joint press conference that will be attended by BMW CEO Harald Krueger, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, and Mobileye Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Amnon Shashua.
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Why it matters
There’s nothing surprising about this announcement considering more and more automakers are approaching the pursuit of autonomous driving technology with the kind of urgency that hasn’t been seen in the industry in a long time.
This BMW-Intel-Mobileye partner is the latest proof of the seeming importance of being the first to really break through with autonomous driving tech and I can’t help but wonder why more automakers aren’t taking the same approach. If anything, it makes it easier having tech firms as partners because each company can rely on their expertise in their respective fields.
There are some questions surrounding this partnership, which I’m sure the three CEOs will address when they make their joint conference. But for now, I’m wondering how the dynamics of the relationship will work, especially between Intel and Mobileye, which already has a partnership with STMicroelectronics, long considered as a direct rival to Intel. Maybe they’ve found a way to work around it, which I think is the case since BMW probably wouldn’t sign off on this alliance without any assurances from both of its partners.
The partnership among the three firms will likely involve development of Mobileye’s fifth-generation system, which is still in development. That should give the alliance enough time to take that tech to a level wherein it can easily be applied into autonomous driving. No timetable has been set, but don’t expect any results to come out soon.
Whatever happens, these partnerships are fast becoming a norm in the industry. That just shows how critical it is for an automaker to be the first to bring autonomous driving tech to the table.