Mobileye, a subsidiary of Intel, has expanded its autonomous vehicle testing program to New York City as part of its technology development and deployment strategy.
New York City joins a number of other cities, including Detroit, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo, where Mobileye has launched tests or plans to do so this year. Mobileye launched its first test fleet in Jerusalem in 2018 and added one in Munich in 2020.
“If we want to build something that will evolve, we have to be able to drive in difficult places and almost everywhere”, Mobileye President and CEO Amnon Shashua said during a presentation Tuesday which was broadcast live. As part of the announcement, Mobileye also released an unedited 40-minute video of one of its autonomous driving system-equipped test vehicles navigating the streets of New York City.
These vehicles, which began testing in New York City last month, drive autonomously with a driving safety operator using only cameras. The vehicles are equipped with 8 long range cameras and 4 parking cameras powered by its fifth generation system on chip called EyeQ5.
That doesn’t mean Mobileye takes a camera-only approach to battery life once it deploys. The company has also developed another subsystem with lidar and radar, but no cameras that also drive autonomously. The two sensor and software subsystems will be combined and integrated to provide redundancy in the robotic axis. The camera-only subsystem is what Shashua described as “the level of cost to consumers” and which will be used to evolve driver assistance systems. Later this year, Mobilieye’s only camera system using the EyeQ5 SoC will be launched in a Geely Auto Group vehicle.
New York City has been in Shashua’s sights for over six months. He first mentioned the desire to test on public roads in New York at the CES 2021 virtual tech show in January with the caveat the company is expected to receive regulatory approval. Now, with that regulatory approval in hand, Mobileye is the only company currently licensed to test AVs in the state and city. GM’s autonomous driving subsidiary Cruise in 2017 presented a plan to test AVs in New York City and even mapped parts of lower Manhattan. The company never stepped up the testing program in New York City, instead deciding to focus on its primary commercial deployment target: San Francisco.
Mobileye has applied for a license under the New York State Autonomous Vehicle Technology Demonstration and Testing Program. The company has met the requirements outlined in the program, which includes compliance with all federal and applicable New York State inspection standards, as well as a law enforcement interaction plan. , according to Mobileye.
“I don’t think there’s anything special about getting the approval you just need to go through this process,” said Shashua, who described it being long and in some ways similar to the strict requirements for test in Germany. “I think what’s special is that it’s very, very difficult to drive here.
Mobileye is perhaps best known for providing automakers with computer vision technology that powers advanced driver assistance systems. It is a company that has generated almost $ 967 million in sales for the company. Today, 88 million vehicles on the road use Mobileye’s computer vision technology.
Mobileye has also developed automated vehicle technology. Its comprehensive self-driving stack – which includes redundant detection subsystems based on camera, radar and lidar technology – is paired with its REM mapping system and rules-based driving policy and Responsibility Sensitive Security (RSS).
Mobileye’s REM mapping system collects the data by tapping into consumer and fleet vehicles equipped with what’s known as EyeQ4, or fourth generation system-on-a-chip, to create high-definition maps that can be used to support ADAS and autonomous driving systems. This data is not videos or images, but compressed text that collects around 10 kilobits per kilometer. Mobileye has entered into agreements with six OEMs, including BMW, Nissan and Volkswagen, to collect this data on vehicles equipped with the EyeQ4 chip, which is used to power the advanced driver assistance system. On fleet vehicles, Mobileye collects data from an aftermarket product that it sells to commercial operators.
Mobileye’s technology maps nearly 8 million kilometers per day around the world, including New York City.
The strategy, Shashua argues, will allow the company to effectively launch and operate commercial robotaxi services as well as bring the technology to mainstream passenger vehicles by 2025. Shashua explained this dual approach in an interview. with TechCrunch in 2020.
“We realized some time ago,” he said at the time. “The holy grail of this company is passenger car autonomy: when you buy a passenger car and pay an option price, at the push of a button it can independently take you where you want to go. The realization is that you can’t achieve this holy grail if you don’t go through the robotaxi business.
On Tuesday, Shashua said Mobileye was the only company to have a foothold in both camps. (Although it should be noted that Toyota’s Woven Planet has some strategic overlap.)
“We are building our technology in a way that supports scale, especially geographic scale, using our participatory mapping technology and building new sensors so that the whole package – the whole of the system – will cost less than $ 5,000 to enable mainstream VAs, and on the other hand, we have a division that is building a mobility-as-a-service or robotaxi service, ”Shashua said Tuesday. “This is one of the reasons we bought Moovit last year, to allow the customer to deal with all the layers above the autonomous driving system to enable mobility activity as a service. “