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Mobileye unveils ‘super-computer’ chip to power fully autonomous driving

Jerusalem-based Intel subsidiary says it expects EyeQ Ultra to reach full production in 2025

Ricky Ben-David is The Times of Israel’s Tech Israel editor and reporter.

A Mobileye car doing a pilot drive in New York City, July 2021. (Courtesy)
A Mobileye car doing a pilot drive in New York City, July 2021. (Courtesy)

Jerusalem-based autonomous driving systems company Mobileye, an Intel subsidiary, unveiled an advanced, ultra-fast “super-computer” chip this week that it said was purposely built to power future fully autonomous vehicles (AVs).

The company introduced the new system-on-chip (SOC), dubbed EyeQ, at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, an annual event that showcases new technologies and products in consumer electronics. It called it a “single package AV-on-chip super-computer purpose-built for end-to-end autonomous driving.”

Mobileye said EyeQ Ultra will be capable of 176 trillion operations per second (TOPS) and can “handle all the needs and applications” of Level 4 (L4) autonomous driving without the computing power consumption and costs related to integrating multiple systems together, addressing two major challenges for the industry. Level 4 provides high automation without the need for human intervention in limited areas (also known as geofencing), but humans can still manually override if necessary.

The new chip is expected to cost “well under $1,000,” according to Globes, and automakers will theoretically use it to power self-driving passenger, shared transport, and delivery vehicles.

The chip can process Mobileye’s True Redundancy vision sensing technology, comprising two perception sub-systems — one made up of cameras, and the other of radar and lidar sensors — as well as its crowd-sourced Road Experience Management (REM) mapping technology that creates high-definition maps of road infrastructures worldwide, and its Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS) driving policy.

Mobileye said it expects to reach full production with EyeQ Ultra in 2025.

Mobileye introduced the EyeQ Ultra, the company’s advanced, high performing system-on-chip (SoC) purpose-built for autonomous driving at CES in Las Vegas on January 3, 2022. (Mobileye, an Intel company)

“Consumer AV is the end game for the industry,” said Amnon Shashua, co-founder and president of Mobileye, in a statement Tuesday. “By developing the entire self-driving solution – from hardware and software to mapping and service models – Mobileye has a unique perspective into the exact requirements for the self-driving system that enables us to reach the performance-and-cost optimization that will make consumer AVs a reality.”

At CES, Mobileye also introduced its newest generation of chips, EyeQ6, for its advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that require humans at the wheel (Level 2), and announced expanded agreements with Volkswagen and Ford on mapping technology, as well as a new deal with Zeekr, an electric vehicle brand by Chinese multinational Geely for an all-electric L4 automation vehicle by 2024.

Mobileye first introduced the EyeQ chip in 2004, developing different products based on the systems to warn of and help prevent collisions. The company now works with some of the world’s largest automakers including Volkswagen, Ford, Honda, and BMW and recently celebrated the shipment of its 100 millionth EyeQ chip.

In a 60-minute deep dive into the company’s activities and new announcements this past year, Shashua said that some 100 million cars across 188 vehicle models now use Mobileye technology.

The Intel subsidiary, which is expected to go public later this year at an approximate valuation of $50 billion, brought in $1.4 billion in revenue in 2021, Shashua said. Intel acquired Mobileye in 2017 for $15.3 billion, which remains the largest exit for an Israeli company to date.

Mobileye began testing autonomous vehicles in Munich in 2020, after obtaining an AV testing permit recommendation from the independent technical service provider TÜV SÜD. It was the first city in Europe to approve the pilot, which built on Mobileye’s existing program in Israel where the company has been testing self-driving vehicles since 2018.

The pilot has since grown to include Detroit, New York City, Tokyo, and most recently Paris.

Later this year, Mobileye is expected to roll out a pilot for autonomous taxis and ride-hailing services in Munich and Tel Aviv (pending regulatory approval). Mobileye will own the fleet of electric vehicles — which it calls “robotaxis” — powered by a self-driving system and developed specifically for commercial, driverless ride-hailing services. Riders will be able to access the service on the app developed by Moovit, the Israeli smart transit data company Intel bought in 2020 for some $900 million.

Separately, Mobileye also has a number of running partnerships to supply self-driving systems to California delivery startup Udelv, which plans to have a fleet of autonomous delivery vehicles on the roads within two years, and with two French-based firms to jointly develop and deploy commercial autonomous shuttles for public transportation services in Europe in 2023.

California delivery startup Udelv unveiled the Transporter, the company’s autonomous delivery vehicle powered by Mobileye, at CES in Las Vegas on January 3, 2022. (Udelv)

Udelv introduced its new Mobileye-powered electric vehicle, the Transporter, at CES 2022 this week. The vehicle is designed for commercial delivery fleets. The company aims to commercially deploy the Transporter in 2023 and have 50,000 units on the road by 2028.

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