Intel is working with Mobileye, a Jerusalem-based firm, to develop self-driving car technology for BMW, reports Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter. The German carmaker is the latest automaker to hop on the driverless bandwagon.
Intel: a niche player in the auto industry
At a time when automakers and suppliers are racing to develop tech to substitute for human drivers, several firms are focusing on artificial intelligence, which is based on powerful processing. Intel announced that senior executives from the involved companies will host a press conference on Friday to detail the project.
Intel, which dominates the computer-processor market, is the world’s biggest chip maker. The chip maker has already made a place for itself in the car dashboard by making components for entertainment and information systems in vehicles. However, it still trails names such as Infineon Technologies and NXP Semiconductors in supplying chips to the auto industry.
In a note, Evercore financial analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said, “We anticipate that Intel has been tapped to provide the (central processor unit) needed at the vehicle level, the computer that coordinates the myriad components of the car in combination with Mobileye’s … software.”
Can BMW match Tesla?
Nowadays, buyers are giving more importance to technology inside the car rather than horsepower. Therefore, automakers are relying on tech firms to meet the expectations of buyers who are more used to a unified smartphone experience.
With help from Intel and Mobileye, BMW could get the technology it requires for making semi- and fully-autonomous cars – a segment that is expected to become popular in the years ahead. Currently, the German carmaker offers autonomous “driver assistance,” while some models like the 2016 7-Series can stop and start in motorway traffic and slow down and speed up without help from the driver. The car can also keep itself in its lane, but drivers are required to keep hold of the wheel. BMW’s system is less sophisticated and trustworthy than Tesla’s Autopilot, says IBTimes UK. This could change with help from Intel and Mobileye.
BMW is already a client of Mobileye, which specializes in autonomous-vehicle technology and software. Mobileye also has names like Tesla and GM on its client list. Earlier this month, BMW revealed plans to launch a new flagship car equipped with autonomous driving capability in 2021.
On Wednesday, Intel shares closed up 2.37% at $31.93. Year to date, the stock is down almost 9%, while in the last year, it is up almost 3%.