Intel’s Mobileye to build fully autonomous car fleet for 2017 tests

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Intel’s new acquisition Mobileye has unveiled plans to build a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles as it looks to demonstrate the technology in real world environments.

The company plans to build up to 100 vehicles of different types and brands, and conduct tests in Europe, the US and Israel.

Set to take place later this year, the trials aim to provide a base for discussions with regulators, Intel said.

The fleet will use Intel’s Xeon processors, FPGAs, 3D XPoint memory and 5G modems alongside Mobileye’s front-facing camera technology, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, crowd-sourcing mapping and 360 degrees sensing and fusion.

The announcement follows the completion of Intel’s $15.3 billion deal to buy Mobileye earlier this week.

The chipmaker said the Automated Driving Group, its dedicated unit for developing driver assist systems and autonomous driving solutions, will be integrated into Mobileye.

“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,” said Amnon Shashua, who will be the CEO/CTO of Mobileye following the acquisition.

“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.”

He added: “Delivering 100 test cars very quickly will demonstrate how this hybrid system can be adapted to meet customer needs. Neither company could do this alone. Given resident skill-sets within the two companies, a standalone fleet of test vehicles is possible almost immediately.”

Shashua said the project would complement tests by Mobileye’s automaker customers.

Meanwhile, Intel will participate in the Automotive Edge Computing Consortium, which was also unveiled this week.

Also comprising Ericsson, Toyota, ENSO and NTT, the group will aim to develop an ecosystem to support services for connected cars.

This will include increasing network capacity to accommodate the large amounts of data generated by the automotive industry.

Autonomous and connected cars are expected to be a key application for 5G, with Intel also currently undertaking testing initiatives with Ericsson and Nokia in February that will focus on the applications of 5G in autonomous driving.