Intel has announced several initiatives to promote on the rapidly growing market of vehicles with autopilot. The company officially formed a new group of Automated Driving Group (ADG), which will develop solutions for stand-alone machines and announced plans to invest $ 250 million in the development of various technologies for such machines. Intel also announced plans to develop a platform for autonomous driving with Delphi and Mobileye, which can then be used by various automakers. It is expected that the first cars on the market will be based on this platform already in 2019.
Intel is betting on cars with autopilot
Intel is working with various car manufacturers for more than ten years, so the company is no stranger to the automotive industry. For example, Intel processors are used by several generations of infotainment systems in many cars of different brands (BMW, Toyota, Jaguar, etc.). However, for autonomous vehicles are required much more sophisticated computing platforms. Firstly, these platforms use a plurality of sensors in addition to the sonar, lidar and cameras odometry. Secondly, they use a very specific processor that analyzes the sensor data in real time, as well as artificial intelligence (artificial intelligence, AI), which make decisions in real time.
Over the past few years, Intel has acquired a number of companies, accumulating different types of intellectual property, necessary not only for autonomous vehicles (for vehicles in general), but also for other devices that can use artificial intelligence (AI). For example, the company acquired Saffron Technology, specializing in cognitive computations (Signal Processing + AI) at the end of last year, the driver assistance system developer Yogitech in April, a specialist in machine learning Nervana Systems in August, as well as an expert in computer vision Movidius in September.
All assets of the Intel, associated with automatic vehicle management technology, will now be merged into the ADG, which will be led by Doug Davis (Doug Davis), a long-time veteran of Intel, which oversaw the development of a variety of processors for embedded applications, network technologies and various IoT-devices. Katy Winter (Kathy Winter), which was responsible for software development for autopilot vehicles in Delphi, put will respond to the creation of specific products as a part of the ADG.
It is worth noting that Intel does not create an automobile division, which would have had to develop a variety of solutions for vehicles as such, as well as highly integrated computing platform for a variety of vehicles. The company intends to focus on the creation of very specific components for the vehicles of the future, and therefore, these components must be compatible with solutions from other vendors. Initially, Intel plans to develop a platform for the automatic piloting cars in conjunction with Delphi and Mobileye, but in the end result, Intel will inevitably have to work with companies such as NXP, Infineon and Renesas (the largest suppliers of chips for cars according to IHS data).
During the announcement of the establishment of Automated Driving Group CEO of Intel said that every car with the autopilot will generate approximately 4 terabytes of data every day, which means three points. Firstly, such machines require a powerful data processing ICs in real time. Second, the creators of autonomous cars have to own large data centers to analyze huge volumes of data captured by vehicles to develop better artificial intelligence technology. Third, you will need a communications infrastructure that can transfer huge by today’s standards of data volumes. Intel Xeon microprocessors are already used in most data centers around the world, and the spread of autonomous vehicles will boost demand for the company’s processors in the future. At the same time, the ADG will allow Intel to sell more chips for cars, which means new business opportunities.
Autopilot cars with Intel processors will first appear in 2019
One of the first projects on which work will ADG will be a platform for autonomous vehicles, developed by Intel, Delphi and Mobileye’s, which will appear in the new machines already in 2019. Another important project will be working together on the automatic piloting technologies in conjunction with BMW and Mobileye. BMW plans to use the platform in its vehicles by 2021. Unfortunately, Intel has no plans to disclose other ADG.
Intel, Delphi and Mobileye has already developed a prototype of its platform, based on the current generation of Core i7 processor (which is – was not disclosed, so we can assume any of the i7-6600U to i7-6950X) and some chip Mobileye. Intel said that the platform will be subsequently translated into more powerful the CPU, which will be announced in the coming weeks, but we do not know whether the same processor used in commercial vehicles in 2019. Meanwhile, Mobileye’s revealed that the computing power of the platform will be about 20 trillion floating point operations per second (apparently refers to the operation to within 8 digits). Performance 20 TFLOPS approximately corresponds to the expected performance of NVIDIA Xavier chips for cars, announced earlier this year and whose trial will begin in late 2017.
It is worth mentioning that NVIDIA and other companies are working on solutions for stand-alone machines for several years. At the same time, despite the fact that Intel reveals intentions on vehicles with autopilot only now, that does not mean that the company starts its development from scratch. As a result of recent acquisitions, the world’s largest chip maker already has a large number of intellectual property related to AI, deep learning, computer vision and other technologies required for automatic driving. In addition, the ADG intends to invest $ 250 million over the next two years in the development of various technologies that are relevant for autonomous vehicles: communication, awareness of the context of the machine, in-depth training, safety, etc.
Intel Automated Driving Group Institution is an indication that the company is serious about autonomous vehicles and plans to become a part of the impending technological revolution (good message for investors!). At the same time right now ADG raises more questions than it gives answers, at least from a technological point of view. In any case, the Intel has promised to announce one of the elements of the future platforms for cars with autopilot in the next few weeks, probably, then the company will reveal a little more about this solution.