Intel unveils new tech for self-driving cars

Intel has unveiled a new family of hardware and software products aimed at helping to drive the evolution of self-driving cars within the automotive industry.

Intel has announced the commercial release of a new family of hardware and software products designed for automotive safety and entertainment technology, with the ultimate goal of helping to deliver self-driving cars to the market.

According to Intel, its new family of In-Vehicle Solutions products are designed to enable car makers and their suppliers to "quickly and easily deliver in-vehicle experiences", and includes processors, operating system, and development kits.

The chip maker expects its new application-ready, standardised platform to shorten automotive "infotainment" development time by more than 12 months and reduce costs by up to 50 percent for auto makers.

The first available products in the suite are designed for in-vehicle information and entertainment systems, along with advanced driver assistance capabilities. Its future products will be geared towards advanced driving experiences and self-driving cars.

"We are combining our breadth of experience in consumer electronics and enterprise IT with a holistic automotive investment across product development, industry partnerships, and groundbreaking research efforts," said Doug Davis, corporate vice president, internet of things group at Intel.

"Our goal is to fuel the evolution from convenience features available in the car today to enhanced safety features of tomorrow and eventually self-driving capabilities."

Intel, the world's largest microchip maker, is investing heavily in technology for the automotive industry.

In 2012, the company launched its US$100 million Intel Capital Connected Car Fund in a bid to "accelerate the automotive industry transition to seamless connectivity between the vehicle and consumer electronic devices", as well as to drive new technologies that will enable future autonomous driving capabilities.

According to Intel, its latest investment from the fund was to Japan's ZMP, developer of an autonomous driving platform and vehicles connected with sensors, radars, and cameras.

Intel already works with a number of car makers on various research development efforts, with its tech used in BMW's Navigation System Professional, the Infiniti InTouch infotainment system in the Infiniti Q50, and the Driver Information System in the new 2015 Hyundai Genesis.

The commercial availability of Intel's new class of products comes as Google gives its prototype self-driving car its first outing. The software giant unveiled the electric self-driving car earlier this week at the Code Conference.

Google's prototype two-seater self-driving car has a top speed of 25 miles-per-hour, but currently does not come with a steering wheel or driver pedals.

Google said that it plans to build around 100 prototype versions of the car with manual controls, and that it would partner with other companies — possibly taxi-hiring platform Uber, which flagged self-driving cars as the company's future — to commercialise the vehicle.