BMW is set to announce an alliance to develop self-driving cars with collision detection specialist Mobileye and computer chip maker Intel, a source familiar with the matter said, as the race to put driverless cars on the road heats up.
The tie-up is likely to focus on technology being developed by Mobileye to give computer-driven vehicles better reflexes without driver input, ushering in an era of self-driving cars early in the next decade, analysts said.
This week German carmakers, auto-suppliers and map makers HERE and TomTom agreed a standard that would govern how road and vehicle performance data is transmitted from Internet-connected cars to cloud-based online services, enabling more automated traffic management and car management services.
Intel is the world’s biggest computer chipmaker and has been seeking to break into the market for automotive chips where rivals NXP, Renesas, Infineon and STMicroelectronics have long held sway.
Mobileye is the top supplier of camera-based sensor systems used in driver assistance systems in the latest generation of vehicles. These systems are used for changing lanes and to detect other cars or pedestrians but are expected to evolve to include mapping and automated decision-making features.
Terms of the three-way deal are not yet known, nor is it clear how the pact between Intel and Mobileye might affect the Israeli firm’s long-standing partnership with French-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics, which manufactures Mobileye sensor systems.
BMW, which has been a key customer of Mobileye systems dating back to its first-generation of sensors in 2007, is one of five automakers expected to deploy Mobileye’s fourth-generation safety systems for new cars beginning in 2018, which primarily focus on object detection as cars move down the road.
In recent months, Volkswagen Group, General Motors and Nissan agreed to use EyeQ5 systems in future car fleets and Tesla Motors has re-committed to using Mobileye technology for hands-free driving in its electric cars.