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posted by Fnord666 on Friday August 11, @07:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the acquiring-stinkeye-next dept.

Intel has completed its acquisition of Mobileye, and is planning to build a fleet of 100 "Level 4" autonomous vehicles:

Fresh off its acquisition of auto-visual company Mobileye, Intel announced today that it will build a fleet of Level 4, fully self-driving vehicles for testing in the US, Israel, and Europe. The first vehicles will hit the road later this year, and the fleet will eventually scale to more than 100 automobiles.

The cars will be Level 4 autonomous, meaning that they will be capable of handing most driving situations themselves, whereas Level 5 is largely theoretical and covers complete automation in any condition.

Intel announced plans to acquire Israel-based Mobileye for $15.3 billion back in March. That deal just closed on Tuesday, spurring the chipmaker to begin making aggressive moves in the emerging self-driving market that Intel itself predicted will come to be worth over $7 trillion. Intel previously said it will spend $250 million over the next two years on the development of autonomous vehicles.

Also at Intel Newsroom.


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Intel Buys Driverless Car Sensor Company Mobileye for $15.3 Billion 4 comments

Intel has muscled its way into the yet-to-be-profitable driverless car market with a $15.3 billion acquisition of a sensor-making company:

The likes of Google and Uber already have invested billions of dollars in their own technology, signing partnerships with automakers like Chrysler and Volvo and sending test vehicles onto the road in a bid to cement their place in the industry, which is estimated to be worth $25 billion annually by 2025, according to Bain & Company, the consultancy firm.

But by acquiring Mobileye, whose digital vision technology allows autonomous vehicles to safely navigate city streets, Intel aims to provide a complete package of digital services, looking to supply to automakers that want to offer autonomous driving, but which do not want to rely on the likes of Google for such services. "Scale is going to win in this market," Brian Krzanich, Intel's chief executive, told investors on Monday. "I don't believe that every carmaker can invest to do independent development into autonomous cars."

Bloomberg has this analysis:

To the non-tech crowd on Wall Street, a bet of this scale by an industry stalwart such as Intel serves to validate the growth strategy, even if the payoff is years down the road. But it's also a reminder that enthusiasm for self-driving cars is making chip companies go crazy. At this point, it's hard to gauge how big a movement autonomous cars will become, nor how it will affect companies that participate in the technology. Mobileye's automotive imaging technology, for example, is being tested by car makers such as BMW, but you can bet the tech superpowers developing driverless cars will cook up the key components on their own, as Google parent company Alphabet Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. are doing. The more the tech industry heavyweights rely on self-built components, the more that threatens to cut Mobileye out of the self-driving future -- or at least slash prices for Mobileye components. The self-driving auto unit of Alphabet claims to be pushing down the prices for the imaging technology that maps the surroundings of autonomous cars. That can't be good for Mobileye's ability to maintain its 75 percent gross profit margins.

Also at Reuters, AnandTech, and Nasdaq.


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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday August 11, @08:21AM (10 children)

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 11, @08:21AM (#552196)

    My feeling we are seeing a "autonomous car bubble" - nobody has demonstrated yet a driverless car is impossible** within the limits of the current technology and everybody rushes for their slice of the action.

    --

    at least not one that is safe in the majority of the operational situations.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday August 11, @08:25AM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday August 11, @08:25AM (#552197) Journal

      Seven treeeeeeeellion dollars!

      This is the same company that has its chips in every smartphone and 50 IoT devices in every household!

      --
      [SIG] 04/14/2017: Soylent Upgrade v13 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @08:47AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @08:47AM (#552207)

        in the home and the datacenter, their stretch goals (like autonomous cars, maker boards, Antivirus, etc) are looking less like lucrative moneymakers and more like the goatse.cx guy's stretched anus.

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday August 11, @08:55AM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 11, @08:55AM (#552208)

        Lehman Brothers had $275 billion just before its "house prices can't go down" collapse.
        In USA only, the GFC wiped out $8.3 trillion from savings, asset investment and retirement savings [wikipedia.org] (stock investment not included).
        This is to say that one can go bust, no matter at how much money it is valued or how large is the estimated pot on the table

        Yeah, sure, Intel and Google may afford to bet on autonomous cars feasibility. But I wouldn't invest any of my money as yet.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @09:14AM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @09:14AM (#552215)

      Not sure what you're basing your opinion on but vehicles have already driven millions of miles autonomously. Tesla vehicles have a substantially lower crash rate when in autonomous mode than they do when humans are driving, and as the much propagandized fatal incident displayed - many of those drivers are not exactly keeping their eyes on the road even though they're still supposed to at this time. For that matter, the vehicles now have a substantially lower fatality rate in self driving mode than do humans.

      Level 4 autonomy, which intel and most others are aiming for, is full autonomy for regular usage. Going from city to city, your house to a restaurant, New York to LA. This is 100% within our immediate grasp. Level 5 autonomy will follow at some point in the future. Level 5 autonomy being the point at which the AI become more competent than humans in every conceivable situation from off roading to traversing a slicked unmarked path upwards around a steep mountain.

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday August 11, @11:19AM (1 child)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 11, @11:19AM (#552232)

        Not sure what you're basing your opinion on but vehicles have already driven millions of miles autonomously...

        You'll need to add: "... under benign circumstances and with maintenance between two subsequent trips"
        Even so, Volvo discovered its self driving cars are confused by kangaroos [theguardian.com] (and possibly other large animals moving fast/erratically).

        Situations like:
        - mud splash covering LIDAR or other circumstances debilitating their sensors were highly likely not tested. If I need to spend 15" every time "toileting" the car after I drive country side to clean them, thanks but not thanks, keep your autonomous car.
        - rare but heavily unusual weather conditions - heavy rain, high crosswinds (can an autonomous car avoid tornadoes - have them been tested in those conditions?), temperatures like 50C+ [wikipedia.org] (you know how the road looks like in these conditions?)
        - play of light on street signs [soylentnews.org]
        - remote hacking [soylentnews.org] or other adversarial conditions being likely enough to trigger FBI warnings [soylentnews.org]
        - long term reliability - the lights behind the HVAC/radio/etc (central board column) of my 15years VW started to flicker - an electrical contact most probable. I don't give a dam' (because I can afford to not give a damn - manual gearbox, no cruise control, the only "intelligent" part of that car is the ABS and power steering). Imagine the "autonomous brain" of a car being reset at full speed by an electrical fault.
        - radio spectrum saturation due to car communications during rush hours

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @02:53PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @02:53PM (#552308)

          Feel free to go search youtube or whatever for 'Tesla autopilot in heavy rain' or whatever else. People are driving with it in conditions that it's still not technically ready for and it's doing phenomenally. Obviously weather conditions affecting the sensors has been heavily tested. They're extremely resilient. You're not going to have the car complaining from some dirt roads.

          The other issues are getting increasingly esoteric. Adversarial attacks will definitely remain a concern but I don't see that as an issue in and of itself. Much like somebody doing things like removing a stop sign, disabling a stop light at an intersection, or whatever else could easily mislead and lead to potentially severe accidents between humans. You're never going to have a system that's 100% safe, but they're already safer than humans in many (most?) conditions and unlike humans they will constantly get better and safer over time.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @12:44PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @12:44PM (#552251)

        > substantially lower crash rate when in autonomous mode than they do when humans are driving,

        Which humans? I've posted here before that I'm waiting until they match *my* accident demographics:

          Don't drive impaired (removes ~40% of accidents off the top)
          Don't have a cell phone (removing a major source of distraction)
          Don't drive late at night when drunks are more likely on the road (4am closing around here)
          Don't commute (work from home, mostly avoid heavy traffic)
          Long experience (driving off-highway since age 5, currently 60)

         

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @01:03PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @01:03PM (#552253)

          60? Looks like you'll have to add cognitive and ocular decline to that demographics list soon.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @02:28PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 11, @02:28PM (#552293)

            > cognitive and ocular decline

            Maybe in your family. My father had cataract surgery at ~80 and drove successfully into his 90s. Finally had a slightly-more-than fender bender (no injuries) at age ~95 and quit driving shortly after that. My mother is still driving (local trips, daylight only) at 88.

            • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday August 11, @03:05PM

              by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday August 11, @03:05PM (#552327) Journal

              Cognitive decline is said to begin in the mid-20s [plos.org] or at least the 40s [www.cbc.ca], resulting in worse reaction times. Ocular decline often begins early in life and certainly gets worse later on. Hearing loss begins in infancy and results in less frequencies perceived as you age. If you are going to list a bunch of positive factors, you might as well acknowledge the negative ones. Until anti-aging medicines/technologies are launched, we are definitely deteriorating meatbags that get worse at driving.

              I don't know when or how driverless technologies are going to be proven better than human drivers, but the miles are accumulating, many companies and universities are working on this, and more states are beginning to allow driverless testing on public roads.

              --
              [SIG] 04/14/2017: Soylent Upgrade v13 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, @12:32PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, @12:32PM (#553217)
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