Intel, Waymo partner to work on fully autonomous cars

After logging three million miles of real-world driving together, Intel says it will help Waymo reach level 4 and level 5 autonomy.

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Intel

Intel on Monday revealed it is working with Waymo, the Alphabet-owned self-driving car company, to help its vehicles reach level 4 and level 5 autonomy.

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Level 5 autonomy represents full autonomy, with no driver needed. As defined by SAE International, it means an automated driving system has full-time control of all driving tasks, under all roadway and environmental conditions that could be managed by a human driver. Level 4 represents "high autonomy" and means the vehicle can perform all driving tasks in certain conditions.

Intel has been working with Waymo since 2009, the companies acknowledged, when the Google spinoff first began. Together, Intel and Waymo have logged three million miles of real-world driving. That's more self-driving care miles than any other autonomous fleet in the US, Intel says.

Waymo's latest vehicles, self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans, feature Intel-based technologies for sensor processing, general compute, and connectivity. The cars are now capable of making real-time, autonomous decisions in city conditions.

"As Waymo's self-driving technology becomes smarter and more capable, its high-performance hardware and software will require even more powerful and efficient compute," Intel CEO Brian Krzanich wrote in a blog post. "Intel's collaboration with Waymo ensures Intel will continue its leading role in helping realize the promise of autonomous driving and a safer, collision-free future."

Intel has been investing heavily in the automotive space, with its acquisition of Mobileye closing last month. Intel said last month that the computer vision subsidiary is working on a fleet of level 4 autonomous vehicles that should be deployed sometime later this year. The aim is to deliver a complete "car-to-cloud" system by coupling Intel's high-performance computing expertise with Mobileye's computer vision, sensor fusion, mapping, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

Meanwhile, in its own blog post, Waymo noted that it worked with Intel from the design stage of its latest vehicle to integrate Intel technology into its platform. The compute platform on the Chrysler Pacifica minivan is designed entirely in-house, the company said, as are its LiDAR, radar and vision systems.

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