At the 2016 LA Auto Show, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said that the automotive industry is on the verge of a huge and unprecedentred transformation. Fully autonomous cars will soon become a reality. But these self-driving vehicles will demand unprecedented levels of computing, intelligence and connectivity.
It’s why Intel will spend $250 million over the next two years investing in technology such as improved communications, context awareness, deep learning, security and safety. As driverless cars will come packed with a wide variety of sensors, sonar, LIDAR and video cameras, they will generate vast swathes of data that need to be captured, processed and actioned.
How much data?
An enormous amount. “Each autonomous vehicle will be generating approximately 4,000 GB — or 4 terabytes — of data a day,” said Krzanich. That’s the data equivalent of “almost 3,000 people.”
The success of autonomous vehicles revolves around this data and computing’s ability to manage it.
“Going forward,” explained Krzanich, “the automotive ecosystem must tackle three challenges when it comes to data: the size of data sets, the intelligence development cycle to process data, and security.”
In pursuit of Level 5 autonomous driving
Intel has already joined forces with Israeli firm Mobileye and BMW to bring ‘Level 5’, fully autonomous cars into production by 2021. Level 5 is the ultimate level of autonomy, one that doesn’t require a human driver at all. In comparison, a Tesla is only a Level 3 vehicle.
Intel processors will also be baked into another ongoing project between Mobileye and Delphi Automotive. Their 2019 Centralized Sensing Localization and Planning (CSLP) automated driving system will be demonstrated at CES 2017 during a 6.3 mile drive through Las Vegas traffic.
The path towards fully autonomous cars demands a cutting edge blend of “best-in-class perception sensors such as cameras, radar and LiDAR, automotive experience and computer processing speed,” said Glen De Vos, vice president of services for Delphi.
Fully autonomous cars by 2021?
The race to Level 5 autonomy is on. Google continues to develop its Self-Driving Car Project, while all new Tesla vehicles “will have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver.”
Ford plans to start testing its self-driving cars on European roads in 2017 with the aim of having a “high-volume, fully autonomous vehicle in commercial operation in 2021 in a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service.”
Such competition can only be good for the future of driving, as the industry moves from driver assist systems to fully autonomous solutions and truly driverless cars.