Intel is best known for its work in the semiconductor world. However, the company is also making strides in other areas thanks to the acquisitions it has made over the years. One of its subcategories is self-driving vehicles.
The chipmaker operates a branch called Mobileye in this space. Recently, it announced a partnership with Udelv that will put a fleet of 35,000 autonomous delivery vehicles on the road by 2028. The so-called “Transporters” will feature Mobileye’s self-driving technology and run on clean electric power.
They are designed to fix problems with “last-mile” deliveries. Intel projects that last-mile delivery volume will spike by 75 to 85 percent over the next 10 years due to the increasing popularity of online shopping. If that’s the case, then the arrival of Mobileye’s new delivery fleet will be right on time.
In a press release, Intel notes that Mobileye’s deal with Udelv is “believed to be the first large-scale deal for a self-driving system.”
Indeed, while many companies are currently performing tests of their self-driving vehicles, few have committed to large fleets. That’s especially true for companies looking to purchase a system from a third-party firm.
Mobileye president and CEO Amnon Shashua says, “Our deal with Udelv is significant for its size, scope, and rapid deployment timeline, demonstrating our ability to deliver Mobileye Drive for commercial use now and in volume.”
The company’s Transporters will help improve the efficiency of last-mile deliveries for customers of all shapes and sizes. Intel notes that “everything from baked goods and auto parts to groceries and medical supplies” can be delivered in the self-driving vehicles.
The first 1,000 Transporters have been earmarked for Donlen, one of the largest commercial fleet management companies in the U.S. It will be interesting to see how the vehicles are used once they arrive.
Speaking of, the first Transporters are expected to go into operation as soon as 2023 with the entire fleet rolling out by 2028.
Intel’s Mobileye system relies heavily on a combination of LIDAR sensors and cameras that process visual information in real-time. The hardware feeds into a custom EyeQ system on a chip (SoC) processor. Ultimately, this creates the conditions necessary for level four self-driving. For those who aren’t familiar with the classification system, this means that Mobileye vehicles are allowed to operate within designated areas with no human interaction. A safety driver is still required, however.
The company hopes that its vehicles will eventually be able to ditch the safety driver after additional testing is completed.
Intel’s Mobileye division has been rigorously testing its vehicles in international markets for some time. In Germany, it has been operating autonomous vehicles on the high-speed Autobahn. Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, its cars are getting a trial by fire in the city’s streets, which are known for their aggressive drivers.
When speaking of Mobileye’s system, Udelv co-founder and CEO Daniel Laury said, “Mobileye is the only company providing a full-stack self-driving system with commercial viability and scale today.”
“…its vast map coverage of North America, Europe and Asia, will allow us to ramp up the production and deployment of Udelv Transporters and rapidly offer the service at scale to our expanding list of customers,” he adds.