BMW will work with Intel and Mobileye to integrate their technology into the company’s autonomous platform. Compared to other driverless platforms – such as Nvidia’s ‘Drive PX2,’ BMW plans to build an open platform, allowing other companies to use their own expertise to develop their own system for autonomous vehicles.
All three companies – BMW, Intel, and Mobileye – will write and publish technical specifications for each component of the platform they are involved with. The agreement between the three companies encompasses several stages of autonomous driving. The system will go all the way up to L5 (which is fully autonomous driving). The other two stages are L3 (eyes off) and L4 (hands off).
Intel is one of the leading chip makers, but in the autonomous market, the company falls behind both Nvidia and Qualcomm. Both Nvidia and Qualcomm have already made great strides towards advancing a driverless platform. Nvidia’s ‘Drive PX2’ relies on a GPU for processing large amounts of data.
Intel believes there will be 100 teraflops (trillions of calculations per second) behind a decision. This means Intel’s system will definitely have an advantage over the ‘Drive PX2.’ Following the 2015 acquisition, Intel plans on using Altera’s FPGA to power their driverless system. The autonomous driver platform will need to make split-second decisions, and newer FPGA can crunch through large amounts of data within a very short amount of time. Plus unlike a GPU, an FPGA is reprogrammable.
The hardware behind the driverless system will make use of Deep Learning algorithms. Again, Deep Neural Networks are currently dominated by NVIDIA GPUs. As before, the advantage for Intel is that FPGA are a better alternative. FPGA can support calculations within split-seconds, taking factors like sensor fusion, inference, trajectory, route plan, decisions and vehicle control into effect. Besides, Intel can combine FPGA technology with their Xeon chip, paving the way for a super-effective chip.
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