And the world inches closer to fully autonomous driving systems. In a supremely exciting piece of news coming from the autonomous driving technology industry, Mobileye is teaming up with UK-headquartered Delphi Automotive to deliver a fully autonomous, ready-to-install system for vehicles as early as 2019.
The news is extremely exciting. If it was just some startups in the autonomous vehicle domain hooking up and promising to deliver by 2019, we would probably say duh! and move on. After all, with the likes of Google and Tesla struggling to put those vehicles on road by 2021, what chance does some other company has?
However, Mobileye and Delphi automotive are not just some other companies. While Mobileye is an Israeli software firm that until recently supplied chips for Tesla’s famed Autopilot system, Delphi is known as a leading global supplier of technologies for the automotive and commercial vehicle market and counts names like GM and VW as among its major customers.
Mobileye also has a system for providing images that help a car’s cameras and sensors negotiate roadways in real time. On the other hand, Delphi will be supplying automated driving software algorithms and controller software for camera, radar, and LiDAR equipment to the mix. So between themselves, the two companies probably have enough technology to put together an autonomous system if they tried. Which is exactly what they are going to do with this partnership.
The companies are now collaborating and will together attempt to deliver what is being called as a “Turnkey” product to companies within the next three years. If achieved, the goal will set both these companies up as the leaders in the race to bring sustainable and efficient technology for driver-less cars. Along with technologies, each of the partners will also be contributing significant amounts of money for the endeavor. Together, they are said to be planning to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in developing the system.
Speaking in an interview, Delphi Chief Executive Kevin Clark said,
This partnership will allow us to give our customers an increased level of automated capabilities faster and more cost effectively. The collective expertise of our two organizations will accelerate the creation of new approaches and capabilities that would likely not have been possible working alone. This is a win-win for both companies and our customers.
Stressing the importance of bringing driverless cars to the market, Mobileye Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Amnon Shashua said,
If we don’t want to clog a city with robotic systems that get stuck in busy traffic, you must endow these systems with intelligence.
Speaking about the collaboration, he added,
The Mobileye and Delphi relationship started in 2002 with the implementation of what was one of the most advanced active safety systems of the time. Our long history together is key to the success of this ambitious endeavor. Our partnership with Delphi will accelerate the time to market and enable customers to adopt Level 4/5 automation without the need for huge capital investments, thereby creating a formidable advantage for them.
Also adding that the system will be able to mimic a driver’s complex decision as well. Mobileye was actually the supplier of a core component in Tesla’s self-driving cars. However, the two parted ways following the recent fatal accident involving a Tesla autonomous vehicle.
Meanwhile, with Google, Tesla, Volvo, Nissan and GM already well ahead in the race, it is unlikely that this pair will be able to bring a system before any of these behemoths. However, while these companies along with certain other major car-makers can afford to develop autonomous systems in house, many others can’t. That will provide the duo with the chance to strike gold by catering to smaller to medium sized car manufacturers looking to go autonomous but lacking in the technology.
Shares of the companies have been in trouble of late, as car manufacturers increasingly focus on homegrown systems and start acquiring or partnering with startups offering autonomous technology. However, they soared following the collaboration announcement. While Mobileye rose nearly 8% to $50.21, Delphi’s shares gained 3% to rise to $66.08 on Tuesday.