BMW, Intel and Mobileye team up to make self-driving cars a reality by 2021

BMW, Intel and Mobileye have announced a new partnership to build a fleet of self-driving cars, not only on highways but also in urban environments, by 2021.

The partnership will focus on creating an industry standard as well defining an open platform for autonomous driving. The common platform will address level three to level five of automated driving and once completed will be open for all other car manufacturers and vendors who could benefit from progress for the technology.

The levels of automated driving outline the various stages of creating self-driving cars. Levels one and two are focused on the idea of a driver not using hands to drive, whereas level three is described as ‘eyes off’ and level four is ‘mind off’, where the person in the car can use the time to focus on other tasks. Level five is the stage where a driver is no longer needed in the vehicle, created entirely new business models in a connected world.

Mobileye is a technology company that develops vision-based advanced driver assistance systems providing warnings for collision prevention and mitigation. The technology is based on optical vision systems with motion detection algorithms, which measure the relative distance and speeds of various objects, calculating collision risks in real time.

What is not clear is where the ‘intelligent’ aspect of the car will come from. If BMW are to supply the cars, Intel the chips and Mobileye the detection capabilities, it does not seem to have been stated where the element of artificial intelligence, which is crucial for self-driving cars, will come from. As it stands, the team have the body, the muscles and the eyes, but not the brain to bring it all together.

Intel did acquire embedded computing company Wind River in 2009, though has acted as an independent subsidiary to date, which specialises in IoT technologies. Although there has not been any confirmation, this is one area where the ‘intelligence’ aspect of the self-driving car could arise.

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