Self-driving cars clearly has emerged as the newest battleground for the chip makers to engage in and Intel already has made a bold move by acquiring the firm Mobileye that has been one of the pioneers in the field.
The deal that is estimated at $15.3 billion is also a clear sign of the importance that the self-driving car segment plays in the long-term growth strategy of the chip maker. Intel continues to play second fiddle to companies like Nvidia and Qualcomm in the mobile computing segment, and both are already vying for the top slot in the new self-driving car segment as well.
Intel so far has been a major player in the computer chip business, but with the segment itself shrinking in the face of competition from mobile devices, the company sure had to search for greener pastures. While its foray in the mobile segment has not met with the kind of success that benefits its stature, it already has been collaborating with a few automakers and other tech firms to develop self-driving cars.
In fact, Intel already had a partnership going on with Mobileye and BMW to supply the chips needed that would power the latter’s autonomous cars due out by 2021. Intel is also collaborating with auto component manufacturer Delphi to develop the viable self-driving technology.
The Israel-based Mobileye, on the other hand, has been in operation since 1999 and happens to be the primary provider of self-driving technology to scores of car makers. Its complete suite of vehicle automation system comprises of diverse entities such as cameras, sensors, radars, road mapping, and machine learning along with advanced data processing and so on.
However, with the huge amount of data that needs to be processed in real time, the onus is on the chip that should be powerful enough to process it all within, say milliseconds. That is akin to the future autonomous cars to have supercomputers on board, and Intel believes its Core i7 chips are adequate to deal with the demands right now. However, Intel is also promising a more powerful but unnamed chip that it will make available at a later date.