Autonomous or self-driving vehicles are rapidly gaining popularity nowadays. Automakers are now in a race on who can make the best fully autonomous cars and who can make the most powerful of them all. Basically, it is a race for technological supremacy, the looks and specs come second.
There have been various automakers who have tried to make the most efficient autonomous cars and one of these is American automaker Tesla. Tesla has been one of the first and leading automakers that revealed its development of self-driving cars (whether semi- or fully autonomous). Tesla has been making some of the most innovative autonomous vehicles and is currently in the works of developing a fully autonomous vehicle that will soon be made available for purchase.
Recently, a new player in the autonomous vehicle business is gearing up to join the hype. BMW has announced that it will be developing its own fully autonomous vehicle in collaboration with tech companies Intel and Mobileye.
Mobileye has already proven itself to consumers by providing Tesla its driver assistance technology. The company is already well-known in the field of monovision camera systems and image recognition. To be able to build the most efficient self-driving vehicle, it must be able to efficiently recognize other vehicles as well as pedestrians, signs and road and weather conditions. And since Mobileye is already an expert in this field, they must now develop a camera (maybe several of it) that will serve as eyes and provide situational awareness to the vehicle. Sensor signals around the vehicle are very important especially on fully autonomous vehicles that BMW is planning on creating and one way for these sensor signals to operate efficiently is to have a cohesive image of its surroundings – which Mobileye is tasked to do.
Intel is currently having a hard time penetrating the mobile market and computer sales are slowly declining so the next big step for the tech company is to venture the automotive world. Intel will be providing BMW with high-powered processors for the fully autonomous car project. The tech company aims to converge and consolidate all of the processors in modern vehicles that have around 50 to 100 electronic control units. These will need a lot of power, wiring and network to be able to function efficiently. Intel is developing a way to combine most of these control systems into a single multi-core processor to reduce power consumption as well as simplify its packaging to improve performance and security.
The resulting autonomous platform that BMW will be using will be made readily available to other manufacturers just like the technology powering Tesla’s autonomous vehicles. BMW, Mobileye and Intel are working on this vehicle so that by late 2017 it can start on field testing its fleet of autonomous vehicles. By 2021, the cars will hit the market marking a new beginning in the field of autonomous driving.