Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC) has announced plans to build a fleet of 100 Level 4, fully self-driving vehicles in the near future. Intel’s new entity will use proprietary capabilities from Israel-based Mobileye for building these test vehicles. Intel announced plans to acquire Mobileye for $15.3 billion back in March and closed the deal last Tuesday.
Intel will rely heavily on Mobileye’s current slate of self-driving tech for the vehicles, while providing an open platform and its experience with data center management and 5G communications. The system being developed will include cameras, image-processing capabilities, microprocessors, and mapping technology. The system will also include software that determines how to react to driving situations, pedestrians, and other objects on the roads.
Level 4 autonomous means that the vehicles will be capable of handling most driving situations themselves. Humans will still be able to pilot the vehicle, but in certain modes it will be entirely hands-off. The only level higher than that, Level 5, covers complete automation in any condition and is largely theoretical at this time.
The vehicles will be developed for testing in the US, Israel, and Europe. Intel is planning for the first vehicles to hit the road later this year. According to reports, Intel’s vehicles will first be deployed in Arizona. Intel previously announced plans to spend $250 million on the development of autonomous vehicles over the next two years.
It is not yet known which automaker would be building the chipmaker’s new self-driving cars. The company says that the fleet will include multiple car brands and vehicle types to demonstrate the technology’s diversity. Intel previously stated that its first 40 autonomous vehicles would be BMW 7 series.
Intel’s test fleet is going to be a sales tool for the company for potential partners and customers. Data collection from the fleet will used for safety validation and for working with regulators on meeting transportation rule requirements. The ultimate goal is to have a fully developed self-driving kit available for automakers to start integrating into new vehicles by 2019.
Amnon Shashua, soon-to-be senior vice president of Intel Corporation and future CEO/CTO of Mobileye said, “Neither company could do this alone. Given resident skill-sets within the two companies, a standalone fleet of test vehicles is possible almost immediately.”