One more tech giant join the autonomous car race.
Intel announced on Wednesday to build a fleet of 100 autonomous "Level 4" cars, in order to compete against rivals like Qualcomm and Nvidia in the field of driverless vehicle technology.
Fleet of autonomous cars
The fleet will be equipped with Level 4 autonomous system, which is below "fully-autonomous" but well above the level for autopilot, said Intel. Level 4 autonomous cars could perform all safety-critical driving functions as well as monitor roadway conditions.
According to Intel, the new project will be tested in the US, Israel and Europe. Such cars are expected to hit the road later this year.
The new project will be co-operated by Intel and Mobileye, covering various technology fields such as cameras, image-processing capabilities, microprocessors as well as mapping technology. At the same time, Intel aims to introduce the "driving policy" to the autonomous fleet as well, which could "teach" cars to react to different driving situations and pedestrians.
"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 senior vice president of Intel as well as future CEO / CTO of Mobileye. "Geographic diversity is very important as different regions have very diverse driving styles as well as different road conditions and signage."
Racing for the emerging market
In fact, Intel closed the acquisition deal with the Israel-based Mobileye for 15.3 billion US dollars on Tuesday. The new technology of Mobileye is able to make cars "see" things and could be used in car-manufacturing.
It is considered as an aggressive move made by Intel in the emerging autonomous vehicle market.
Dozens of companies, ranging from traditional car manufacturers like BMW to tech giants like Google, are vying for the new market in the recent years.
In 2016, Intel teamed up with BMW and Mobileye to build a platform for autonomous cars technology by 2021, which made BMW the first major car manufacture abandoning solo development of self-driving cars. Just several months ago, Daimler's Mercedes-Benz and Bosch partnered for fully autonomous parking technology.
What's more, Japanese car manufacturer Honda has also said it plans to be open to alliances in the area of autonomous cars.
For tech giants, the emerging market stands for potential profit too. As a crucial component in autonomous vehicles, a powerful chip plays a critical role because a self-driving car needs to collect, analyze and transmit data constantly.