In a bid to get a share of the market for driverless cars, U.S. chipmaker Intel has acquired the Israeli company Mobileye. The company’s rationale for the $15.3 billion take-over – at $63.54 per share – is the expectation that said market will be $70 billion by 2030.
Since 1999, Mobileye has been developing systems with the end in view of preventing collisions and maintaining on-road safety. These include software for automatic emergency braking and cruise control.
The systems specialist has since included autonomous driving into its repertoire. While the company has contracts with 27 car makers, it is now working with BMW and Intel to road-test 40 vehicles by the second half of 2017.
Tapping Into Significant Growth Opportunities
For its part, the established chip-making company sees cars turning fully autonomous, becoming data centers on wheels. The driverless car technology is a market that can offer Intel “significant growth opportunities.”
Timothy Carone of Notre Dame University described the technological change, “as seminal as the personal computer revolution.” The estimate from Goldman Sachs is that by 2030, 60% of U.S. auto sales would come from driverless cars.
As with any technological advancement, automakers and tech companies do not want to be left behind. Ford, GM, Tesla, Lyft, Google and others have plans to come up with their own autonomous cars in a span of five years.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has been consistently giving updates about company innovations through social media, recently tweeted the “longer version of self-driving demo with Paint It Black soundtrack.” The video shows the inside of a car with the steering wheel moving on its own.
Safety in the Sensors
In building autonomous cars, companies agree that safety will be vastly improved – through the use of sensors. These sensors would include cameras, radar, lasers, and ultrasonic devices. In effect, the human driver would have to delegate his own senses to the car’s sensors.
A consumer would first have to drive the car hundreds of miles to gather data for the sensors. The data would then be processed in a data center – frame by frame.
This would enable the car to build up a memory and recognition of things it encounters on the road. Such data could be anything from pedestrians to traffic posts to trucks.
The concept is similar to Amazon and Netflix using machine learning to come up with recommended viewing and reading. Indeed, artificial intelligence research is expected to see a remarkable transformation in the next decade or so, and do powerful things unheard of before, including drive cars. In two more decades, driverless cars are expected to be commonplace.