International

Intel’s Mobileye Plans To Pilot Robotaxis In South Korea

Mobileye will test and eventually launch a set of robotaxis in Daego City, South Korea, per an agreement reached this week.

The company, a subsidiary of Intel, is a leader in a specific niche of the auto field, specializing in computer vision sensor systems that help prevent crashes.

The new agreement was announced at CES 2020. Under the agreement, Mobileye will integrate its system, including visual perception, sensor fusion, its REM mapping system, software algorithms and its driving policy that will “drive” the cars, in a driverless, mobility-as-service operation in South Korea.

The systems’ decision-making policy will be based around “Responsibility Sensitive Safety” or RSS, a mathematical model introduced by the company in 2017.

Mobileye has generated nearly $1 billion in sales from selling its technology to help avoid crashes. It has put that technology into 17.5 million new cars in 2019, according to Amnon Shashua, Mobileye’s president and CEO and Intel senior vice president.

Recently, though, it has begun turning its attention toward mapping and other technological advancements to enhance its cars’ ability to drive on their own.

It uses data from the millions of vehicles equipped with its technology in order to create detailed, lifelike maps that can consequently enable its cars to drive more accurately. The maps can be used to support advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) or other autonomous driving systems.

Mobileye began turning its attention toward operating its own robotaxi services, rather than just acting as a supplier, in 2018. It began setting up agreements with Volkswagen and Champion Motors, and set up a joint venture, New Mobility, in Israel.

It also began to set up arrangements in France and China to bring robotaxis there in the coming years.

On Tuesday, Mobileye announced that China-based SAIC would be using its technology to create maps for that country for Level 2+ technology, meaning autonomous cars that still require a human driver in some capacity.

Mobileye was acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion in 2017. Since being bought by Intel, it has increased its numbers of employees and begun accelerating their data collection, with an aim toward making more autonomous vehicles.

The cars have shown experience at handling challenging driving maneuvers and turns. But the main challenge will come in convincing the public that the cars are safe, experts say.

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