BMW to conduct trials of self-driving cars powered by Intel and Mobileye

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BMW Group will start a trial of self-driving cars that use technology from Mobileye Technologies Ltd. and Intel Corp. later this year, BMW announced at the Consumer Electronics Show Wednesday.

The trial, which is scheduled to start in the second half of 2017, will feature a fleet of approximately 40 autonomous 7 Series sedans testing the technology in both the United States and Europe. BMW’s self-driving vehicles use Intel to power what they describe as “innovative high-performance computing elements that span from the vehicle to the data center.” The Intel GO system offers a scalable development and computing platform for critical functions including sensor fusion, driving policy, environment modeling, path planning and decision making.

Mobileye provides interpretation for what the vehicle sees. The company’s EyeQ 5 high-performance computer vision processor is responsible for the processing and interpretation of input from the 360-degree surround view vision sensors.

In addition, Mobileye is working with BMW to develop the sensor fusion solution, a combination of input from vision, radar and LiDAR sensors so the car can see where it’s going, complete with learning algorithms that use artificial intelligence to negotiate complex driving situations safely.

“Making autonomous driving a reality for our customers is the shared ambition behind our cooperation with Intel and Mobileye,” BMW Board of Management member Klaus Fröhlich said in a statement. “This partnership has all of the skills and talent necessary to overcome the enormous technological challenges ahead and commercialize self-driving vehicles.”

Fröhlich added that testing autonomous vehicles under real traffic conditions was a significant step towards BMW’s goal of having a fully autonomous vehicle on the market by 2021. BMW noted that although it’s developing the technology along with Mobileye and Intel now, it’s aware of the need to scale the tech going forward. It said it would welcome other companies, such as car makers, suppliers or tech companies, to participate and contribute to the platform’s development.

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