Yesterday, at the annual CES convention, which this year is being held online, Intel's Israeli autotech unit Mobileye presented its technological and business strategy for the coming years. Mobileye intends to intensify its collaboration with Chinese automotive company Geely, announced a few months ago. It will supply to the Chinese company and its subsidiaries millions of ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) kits for driving at various levels of automation, and kits for high levels of automation (level 4 and above) for the next generation of electric vehicles that Geely is developing.
Meanwhile, Mobileye has terminated its strategic collaboration with Chinese electric car developer NIO. The Chinese startup announced this week that it intended to collaborate with Intel rival Nvidia on the development of vehicles with high levels of autonomous driving capability, on the basis of the new Orin chip announced by Nvidia.
Nevertheless, the supply contract between Mobileye and NIO will continue for the time being. NIO will supply to Mobileye dozens of its ES8 vehicles, which will serve as a platform for the autonomous taxi service that Mobileye plans to launch in Israel, in the Dan area, within the next two years. This is until Volkswagen supplies the electric vehicle that was supposed to be the basis for Mobileye's robotaxi service in Israel.
Mobileye plans to continue developing advanced automation kits for robotaxis, and also for serial production vehicles, from 2025. Mobileye's aim is to cut the cost of the kits from the order of tens of thousands of dollars to a few thousand. To that end, the company announced its intention of developing a lidar-on-a-chip product incorporating its own software and production based on Intel's Photonics technology. Lidar (light direction and ranging) uses lasers to sense objects in a vehicle's environment. The new chip will have capabilities among the most advanced on the market, at low prices from mass production. Mobileye is also developing a high resolution radar-on-a-chip unit. The two new sensors will back up Mobileye's advanced camera system.
Mobileye intends to offer the new kit to manufacturers who want a ready-made solution for level 4-5 autonomous vehicles, and at the same time to offer the hardware components (lidar and radar) to other manufacturers developing their own autonomous driving solutions. Mobileye founder and CEO Prof. Amnon Shashua estimated that in the coming years China would lead the adoption of autonomous vehicles, and said that it was already supporting advanced trials.
A further layer of Mobileye's plan for speeding up the adoption of autonomous vehicles is its mapping database, based on crowdsourcing from its sensors, installed on millions of vehicles. Shashua said that the gathering and analysis of the data had reached a mature stage, and that it gave Mobileye a competitive advantage and the ability to offer a complete solution comprising hardware, software and mapping in many places around the world. The company plans to expand its trials in the coming year to New York, Detroit, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Paris.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic and growing competition, Mobileye expects to report a higher volume of deliveries for 2020 than for 2019, and announced that it had become part of dozens of new development programs for future models in the automobile industry.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 12, 2021
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