BMW is an undisputed leader in the automotive world, so too is Intel in computing, while Mobileye is a top player in the computer vision and machine learning space, and they are "collaborating to bring solutions for highly and fully automated driving into series production by 2021".
Naturally, the companies tell us that "the future of automated driving promises to change lives and societies for the better", and that there is a way to get to that point.
However, they say that "the path to get to a fully autonomous world is complex and will require end-to-end solutions that integrate intelligence across the network, from door locks to the data centre".
We are told that "transportation providers of the future must harness rapidly evolving technologies, collaborate with totally new partners, and prepare for disruptive opportunities".
The technological trio proudly boast they will "develop the necessary solutions and innovative systems for highly and fully automated driving to bring these technologies into series production by 2021".
BMW says its "iNEXT model" will be the foundation for its "autonomous driving strategy and set the basis for fleets of fully autonomous vehicles, not only on highways but also in urban environments for the purpose of automated ridesharing solutions".
The trio also proclaim to be "convinced that automated driving technologies will make travel safer and easier".
We’re informed that the "goal of the collaboration is to develop future-proofed solutions that enable the drivers to not only take their hands off the steering wheel, but reach the so called 'eyes off' (level 3) and ultimately the “mind off” (level 4) level transforming the driver’s in-car time into leisure or work time".
But there’s more: this level of autonomy "would enable the vehicle, on a technical level, to achieve the final stage of traveling 'driver off' (level 5) without a human driver inside".
For those wondering when driverless taxis and other driverless cars will arrive, the trio state that "this establishes the opportunity for self-driving fleets by 2021 and lays the foundation for entirely new business models in a connected, mobile world".
Of course, there are dangers: a Tesla Model S car on "autopilot" mode crashed into a truck making a left turn in front of it, with the white trailer said to be too difficult for the Tesla electronics to discern against a bright sky.
There’s also the ethical question of whether a driverless car will, in an impending accident, save the driver, or save the crowd it is about to crash into if there’s no way of saving both, as this article explores (and many others online do, too).
Even so, these are the challenges that need to be faced by any autonomous car maker, as well as those who elect to buy and trust autonomous cars to do the driving for them, and BMW, Intel and Mobileye have, no doubt, already factored in many such thoughts, ethics and scenarios into their plans, as the issue is unavoidable.
So, on 1 July, the trio were "present at the BMW Group Headquarters in Munich to express their commitment to strive for an industry standard and define an open platform for autonomous driving".
We are told that "the common platform will address level 3 to level 5 automated driving and will be made available to multiple car vendors and other industries who could benefit from autonomous machines and deep machine learning".
Here’s the video of the launch; the article continues below, please read on.
The trio report that they have "agreed to a set of deliverables and milestones to deliver fully autonomous cars based on a common reference architecture. Near term, the companies will demonstrate an autonomous test drive with a highly automated driving (HAD) prototype. In 2017 the platform will extend to fleets with extended autonomous test drives".
Mobileye co-founder, chairman and chief technology officer Professor Amnon Shashua said: “Today marks an important milestone for the automotive industry as we enter a world of new mobility.
“Together with BMW Group and Intel, Mobileye is laying the groundwork for the technology of future mobility that enables fully autonomous driving to become a reality within the next few years.
“Mobileye is proud to contribute our expertise in sensing, localiSation, and driver policy to enable fully autonomous driving in this co-operation.
“The processing of sensing, like our capabilities to understand the driving scene through a single camera already, will be deployed on Mobileye’s latest system-on-chip, the EyeQ 5, and the collaborative development of fusion algorithms will be deployed on Intel computing platforms.
“In addition, Mobileye road experience management (REM) technology will provide real-time precise localisation and model the driving scene to essentially support fully autonomous driving.”
For its part, Intel says it "brings a comprehensive portfolio of technology to power and connect billions of smart and connected devices, including cars".
To handle the complex workloads required for autonomous cars in urban environments, Intel states that it "provides the compute power that scales from Intel Atom to Intel Xeon processors delivering up to a total of 100 teraflops of power efficient performance without having to rewrite code".
Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich said: “Highly autonomous cars and everything they connect to will require powerful and reliable electronic brains to make them smart enough to navigate traffic and avoid accidents.
“This partnership between BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye will help us to quickly deliver on our vision to reinvent the driving experience. We bring a broad set of in-vehicle and cloud computing, connectivity, safety and security, and machine-learning assets to this collaboration enabling a truly end to end solution.”
As for BMW Group, it points to its "Strategy Number ONE > NEXT" and says it has "developed its framework to remain the driving force behind premium individual mobility", claiming "this approach will become driving reality with the BMW iNEXT model in 2021, heralding a new era of mobility".
Harald Krüger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, said: “At the BMW Group we always strive for technological leadership. This partnership underscores our Strategy Number ONE > NEXT to shape the individual mobility of the future.
“Following our investment in high definition live map technology at HERE, the combined expertise of Intel, Mobileye and the BMW Group will deliver the next core building block to bring fully automated driving technology to the street.
“We have already showcased such groundbreaking solutions in our VISION NEXT 100 vehicle concepts. With this technological leap forward, we are offering our customers a whole new level of sheer driving pleasure whilst pioneering new concepts for premium mobility.”