BMW will soon test autonomous cars – with a little help from Intel and Mobileye

January 05, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
When past year BMW announced a cooperation with Mobileye and Intel to devise self-driving cars, industry observers were puzzled because Intel so far had no significant activities in the world of automotive electronics. Now the trio shed light on its plans. They are ambitious.

As early as in the second half of 2017, BMW plans to start testing a fleet of some 40 autonomous vehicles on public roads. Intel and Mobileye will provide significant technological contributions because the vehicles will be equipped with an Intel computing platform and sensor fusion technology from Mobileye.

At a panel discussion during the CES in Las Vegas, revealed details about their partnering model which includes a scalable computing architecture that by the way will be open for use by other carmakers and developers. The offerings scale from individual key integrated modules to a complete end-to-end solution providing a broad range of differentiated services and consumer experiences.

“Making autonomous driving a reality for our customers is the shared ambition behind our cooperation with Intel and Mobileye”, said Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG for Development. “This partnership has all the skills necessary to overcome the enormous technological challenges ahead and commercialize self-driving vehicles. Therefore, we are already thinking in terms of scalability and welcome other companies – manufacturers, suppliers or technology companies – to participate and contribute to our autonomous platform. This year our fleet of vehicles will already test this joint technology globally under real traffic conditions.” Fröhlich added that this ”is a significant step towards the introduction of the BMW iNEXT in 2021, which will be the BMW Group’s first fully autonomous vehicle.”

“From an industry perspective, we are already seeing savings and speed in development by sharing development costs and in pooling resources to develop a complete autonomous platform”, said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. “The car-to-cloud system will perform with consistent, predictable behavior and is validated to the highest level of safety.”

Mobileye Chairman and CTO Professor Amnon Shashua said that the triple alliance has made “good progress in designing a state-of-the-art solution for autonomous driving on both highways and in urban areas over the past six months.”

 

Within the partnership, BMW Group will be responsible for driving control and dynamics, evaluation of overall functional safety including setting up a high-performance simulation engine, overall component integration, production of prototypes and eventually scaling the platform via deployment partners. Intel brings to the partnership high-performance computing elements that span from the vehicle to the data center. The company’s newly launched GOTM solution for autonomous driving will offer processor and FPGA technologies for the most efficient balance of performance and power, while meeting the thermal and safety requirements of the automotive industry. Within the car, the Intel GO solution offers a scalable development and compute platform for critical functions including sensor fusion, driving policy, environment modeling, path planning and decision making. In the data center, GO offers a wide range of technologies ranging from the company’s Xeon processors, to Iits Arria 10 FPGAs and Solid State Drives to the Nervana platform for artificial intelligence that supports a deep learning training and simulation infrastructure required for autonomous driving.

Mobileye contributes its proprietary EyeQ5 computer vision processor offering automotive-grade functional safety and low-power performance. The EyeQ5 is responsible for processing and interpretation of input from the 360-degree surround view vision sensors as well as localization. EyeQ5, in combination with Intel CPU and FPGA technologies, which forms the Central Computing Platform to be integrated into each autonomous vehicle.