Top self-driving car firms join forces to deliver fully autonomous system by 2019

Two key autonomous vehicle component suppliers are teaming up as part of a deal that could accelerate the arrival of self-driving cars.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Mobileye and Delphi Automotive have teamed up to work on autonomous vehicle technology.

Image: phadventure, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Two of the world's top self-driving tech firms are joining forces to deliver a fully autonomous, ready-to-install system for vehicles by 2019.

Mobileye, the Israeli software firm that until recently supplied chips to support Tesla's Autopilot system, is teaming up with UK-headquartered Delphi Automotive, which counts GM and VW among its major customers.

Together the firms will develop a fully autonomous platform, which they hope to supply to vehicle manufacturers as a 'turnkey' product within the next three years.

The two companies supply some of the world's largest auto makers with software and parts for autonomous systems, but may in future face competition from their customers, as car makers bring autonomous vehicle technology development in-house.

GM, for example, acquired Cruise Automation for over $1bn earlier this year to further its autonomous vehicle ambitions, while Ford announced last week it is targeting a fully-autonomous vehicle by 2021, helped by its acquisition of Israel-based machine learning firm SAIPS and investments in 3D mapping startup Civil Maps. Similarly, Volvo this week announced a deal with Uber to co-develop fully autonomous vehicles.

Combining technologies to build a ready-to-install, fully-autonomous driverless system may help Mobileye and Delphi Automotive stay ahead of customers and keep demand for their outsourced technology alive.

Mobileye will contribute its system on chip with sensor signal processing, and other systems for real-time mapping and vehicle localization features, while Delphi will bring its automated driving software algorithms to the product, as well as controller software for camera, radar, and LiDAR equipment.

By combining Delphi's driving behavior modeling with Mobileye's artificial intelligence research, the firms hope to develop systems utilizing more advanced sensors and capable of handling more complex challenges when driving.

Mobileye's deal to supply chips and algorithms to Tesla came to end after a fatality in May involving a driver who'd crashed a Tesla Model S in Autopilot mode. The Wall Street Journal reported at the time that the two companies parted ways after a disagreement over how the technology was used in vehicles. Tesla boss Elon Musk said Mobileye technology was being hamstrung by the need to support too many models from traditional auto makers; Mobileye's main customers include GM, Nissan, BMW, and Hyundai.

Earlier this year, Mobileye announced a deal with BMW and Intel to deliver fully autonomous vehicles by 2021.

Mobileye and Delphi are planning to demonstrate how their new platform could be used for urban and highway driving at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"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," Professor Amnon Shashua, Mobileye chairman and CTO said in a statement.

Vehicles with level 4 automation are considered to be fully autonomous and, according to the US Department of Transportation, are "designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip".

"This partnership will allow us to give our customers an increased level of automated capabilities faster and more cost effectively," Kevin Clark, Delphi president and CEO, said.

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