During a presentation at CES in Las Vegas, Mobileye, an autonomous car development company acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion in March of 2017, announced a partnership with U.K. national mapping agency Ordnance Survey. The purpose of the partnership, VentureBeat reported, was to commercialize high-precision location information.
Mobileye said almost a million cars are giving mapping data back to the company’s cloud platform, as well as 20,000 aftermarket units. Also, Mobileye has increased the amount of people working on the data since the Intel acquisition.
The company used to have about 780 employees, but now that number is at about 1,400, in Israel alone. The company is actually expanding into Jerusalem with a new building that will hold 2,500 employees, and it’s also building offices for hundreds of engineers on other sites.
Mobileye plans to introduce Israel’s first autonomous ride-hailing service, with Volkswagen and Champion Motors, early next year. Champion Motors will run the fleet and Volkswagen will supply the cars. Mobileye will provide the driving systems, and the Israeli government will share traffic and infrastructure information.
The service will be introduced in phases, starting with a small area of about 11 square kilometers in Tel Aviv. By 2022, the company wants to have a few dozen cars on the road traveling unrestricted. Mobileye wants to expand to all of Israel by 2023. If all goes well, the company plans to start driverless tests in the United States and China. The company has signed deals with BMW, Volvo, Hyundai and others to join Mobileye technology with commercial cars.
Mobileye-equipped cars have shown adaptivity when attempting challenging road maneuvers. They can handle unprotected left turns, lane changes in heavy traffic, speed bumps, narrow lanes and side passes.
The biggest challenge, according to Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua, is to convince the public that autonomous driving is safe. The way to do that, he said, is through a partnership with regulatory agencies.
“The goal is to get cars to behave in a way that complies with human maneuvering,” he said. “We need to build a coalition around it.”