After most consumer tech companies, Intel too, has shown interest in making self-driving cars. The chip manufacturer will not directly have their own self-driving car, but will have their processors powering these cars. Auto component manufacturer Delphi and the Israeli firm Mobileye will work along with Intel to build better self-driving cars.
The Need For Processing Power
Most self driving cars come with their own proprietary components. These includes sensors, radars, camera and processing power. The car always needs to be aware of its surroundings. It has to continuously scan for other vehicles, traffic, pedestrians, road signs and street markings. All these need to be correctly processed to have the car driven correctly and it all needs a lot of processing power.
Right now, Intel has their Core i7 processor made available for Delphi and Mobileye to implement in their self driving vehicle. The chip maker has promised to deliver a more powerful and customized solution, that is yet unnamed.
Mid Range Self Driving Cars
Glen DeVos, Delphi’s vice president of engineering and services said that the plan is to have mid-range self driving cars. This will require a processor capable of 20 trillion mathematical operations per second. Even though this sort of processing power seems expensive at the moment, it will be available to the masses in a few years.
Intel’s competition in this field, NVidia, has been successfully powering the Tesla auto pilot successfully. Tesla Auto Pilot is very good in real life, with very high success. Intel’s sudden entry in this field is not only unprecedented, but will also change things for other players. NVidia has a strong position in this area, since they manufacture consumer graphics processing units and self driving cars need processors with good image processing capabilities. Therefore, NVidia is not too worried at the moment. Intel, on the other hand has very bad reputation in making consumer graphics products, but excels elsewhere.
Intel also revealed it would be investing $250 million towards developing self-driving technologies.