There is a new alliance in the development of driverless vehicles: Google’s Waymo and Intel are entering into a partnership. Intel will provide Waymo with the technology necessary to build driverless cars of the category 4 and 5, said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. From stage four, the vehicles are able to drive without human intervention. In the lower levels, at least for the emergency and in crisis situations, a human driver behind the wheel is necessary.
Waymo has been working with components of the chipmaker for some time, as the company published in a blog entry. The 100 Chrysler Pacifica minivans built by Waymo in 2016, for example, would have standard technology from Intel on road. But now they are already working with Intel engineers in the design phase and will “integrate some of Intel’s most-advanced processors and other technology into our own platform,” says the Alphabet subsidiary.
Waymo has been developing its own hardware and software platform for more than seven years, which analyzes the signals of the sensors in the car, makes decisions and controls the vehicle. But for the jump into the next category, the Waymo platform is clearly not fast enough.
Thousands of signals must be evaluated simultaneously and the finest nuances must be recognized. For this, one needs “high-performance computers”, says Waymo in its blog entry. Intel is going to deliver this now.
The partnership with Waymo is an important step for Intel, late adopter in the field of autonomous cars, to catch the most dangerous competitor Nvidia. Nvidia is moving fast in artificial intelligence and sensor technology as image analysis in real-time set and is traded on the stock exchange as “the next Intel”. The share has risen by 75 percent since the beginning of the year. The Intel share has only increased by 2.1 percent in the same period. Tesla is the most prominent Nvidia partner.
With the 15 billion dollar acquisition of the camera and sensor company Mobileye, Intel has officially entered the race for the leading technology platform in the automotive industry in March and has gathered an alliance of partners around it. These include, among others, BMW, Delphi, and Fiat-Chrysler since last week . This platform is to be accessible to all Intel customers.
The deal with Waymo is not a direct expansion of the alliance, but rather comparable to an exclusive cooperation. Nevertheless, the partnership will benefit indirectly because Intel engineers are now able to develop processors, sensors and network technology that can access the collected data of approximately three million autonomous kilometers traveled by Waymo vehicles. No other manufacturer can show this.