Mobileye from Intel is growing rapidly in popularity. Does Tesla have reason to worry?

Although some experts argued that we are not ready for self-driving cars yet, the market has verified these theories – more and more cars are getting autonomous features, and more corporations are joining the race.

We regularly hear about more successful tests of autonomous cars in various cities around the world, just as new features of Tesla vehicles are becoming more autonomous with each update. However, it looks like Elon Musk’s conglomerate needs to be on guard, as the Intel-owned Mobileye brand is going from strength to strength and announcing technologies that could stir things up a bit in the market and eventually even change the balance of power in the industry. What’s interesting, though, is that while the companies are each other’s biggest competitors, they’ve adopted completely different tactics (mainly in terms of how cars recognize and react to obstacles on the road) and investment models, making their rivalry even more interesting.

Mobileye is an Israeli company bought by Intel in 2017 for $15 billion that has become the largest supplier of ADAS (active driver assistance systems like sensors, cameras, and more) installed in today’s cars. And at CES this year, the company revealed its strategy for versatile autonomous vehicles that won’t encounter the “glass ceiling” that Tesla will sooner or later hit. According to CEO Amnon Shashua, Tesla relies on endless hours of video provided by its fleet of cars, which are then sorted to select those best suited for AI training. Mobileye has adopted a different solution, namely the far more expensive LIDAR sensors (devices that work on a similar principle as radar, but use laser light instead of microwaves), which in turn Elon Musk does not recognize.

Or, to be more precise, a combination of AI training on real footage and LIDAR systems, which Mobileye believes is the most practical and trustworthy option. Granted, the company’s ADAS systems don’t yet use LIDAR, but the company has just unveiled a new version based on the technology that will be implemented in the company’s cars before 2025. This one involves recording video data as you drive, which is then processed locally to understand the geometry of your surroundings, and then sent to the company’s specialists to help create advanced 3D maps.

These provide detailed geometric data as well as contextual behavioral data typical of a particular region, city or street. The answer to the question of whether this is a better solution than the AI training used by Tesla, however, we will only know in the future, but it is worth recalling that Americans used to use the services of Mobileye, because until 2016 Elon Musk used the solutions of the Israelis. This has changed over time, and now such giants as BMW, Ford, Nissan and Volkswagen use their services.

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