Intel announced on Wednesday that it would build a fleet of 100 cars to test their self driving technology. The vehicles will be highly automated, SAE Level-4 capabilities, one level below fully automated cars but quite above autopilot and other features that are already on the road.
The fleet is a demonstration of strength of Intel’s and Mobileye’s hybrid autonomous driving software. Intel, on Tuesday, completed the acquisition of Mobileye, a company that makes cameras, sensors and software that makes cars “see” what is ahead.
The duo plan to include different vehicle brands and types as a proof that the platform itself can be used in any application. Intel wants to use the test fleet as a sales tool to put forth potential clients and partners and the company also says that it would be used for safety validating and going forward with regulators on meeting transport requirement rules. The data collected from the fleet will be used for that and it will also help Intel with improving the technology over time.
The fleet will be tested in Arizona and later sent to Jerusalem, testing the cars in a challenging environment with narrow roads and aggressive drivers.
Such a fleet would give Intel a fighting chance over Google’s autonomous driving division, Waymo, who has been testing a sizable fleet of autonomous vehicles and is operating them in several cities. Uber, General Motors, Ford Motors already have their own test fleets.
Intel’s other rivals like Qualcomm(which gained popularity during the beginning of mobile phones ), Nvidia(which is a giant in the gaming devices field) are also investing heavily in autonomous vehicles.
It can be said that with the acquisition of Mobileye and fleet of test cars would make the chip company would gain immensely in the self driving vehicle race. “Intel now has a footprint in all parts of the autonomous vehicle, the brains, the sensors, the information side and the mapping. The acquisition clearly puts Intel in the conversation. It guarantees it will be a player” said an analyst at Gartner, who tracks the development of self-driving vehicles.