Mobileye, Intel’s driverless vehicle R&D division, today expanded its partnership with Ford to offer camera-based detection capabilities for the automaker’s advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). Mobileye will provide its suite of EyeQ sensing technologies to bolster features available through Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 suite, including lane-keeping, pedestrian and cyclist detection, auto high beam headlamps, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane-centering.
Mobileye’s collaboration with Ford isn’t new — the two companies have been working together for years — but it’s the first time Ford has committed to the company’s solutions for the lifecycle of its cars. Moreover, it marks the start of a Ford pilot to evaluate Mobileye’s Roadbook platform, which leverages anonymized, crowdsourced data from vehicle cameras to build a high-definition map for autonomous navigation and localization.
Along with its EyeQ family of devices, Mobileye says it will supply vision-processing software to support level 1 and level 2 driver-assist systems in Ford cars globally as a part of the expanded partnership. (The Society of Automotive Engineers reserves the “level 1” designation for cars with single systems for driver assistance; “level 2” indicates greater autonomy with regard to steering and accelerating or decelerating.) New Ford vehicles will tap Mobileye’s EyeQ software and chips — specifically the EyeQ3 and EyeQ4 — to identify what the windshield cameras can see and to power the forthcoming Mustang Mach-E’s and F-150’s Active Drive Assist hands-free mode, in addition to Co-Pilot 360. Both parties will work with Tier 1 providers to supply the tech for vehicle integration.
Ford previously announced that Mach-E buyers will have to purchase an aftermarket “Active 2.0 Prep Package” for autonomy, which ensures the car has the hardware necessary for Active Drive Assist. Active Drive Assist, which will work on 100,000 miles of divided highways in all 50 states and Canada, will require a separate purchase and won’t be available until later next year. Owners will get access to Co-Pilot 360 in the interim.
Mobileye, which Intel paid $15.3 billion to acquire in March 2017, is building two independent self-driving systems. One is based entirely on cameras and the second incorporates radar, lidar sensors, modems, GPS, and other components. Both confer the full benefits of the Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS) model, an open policy that imposes “common sense” constraints on the decisions driverless vehicles make, and Mobileye says the latter should be able to travel roughly 100 million hours without a crash.
Mobileye powers ADAS in 300 car models across 27 OEM partners and collects 3.7 million miles of sensor data every day, which it supplements with geospatial corpora like OS MasterMap and Ordnance Survey. The company expects to have more than 1 million vehicles in its European fleet by the end of 2020 and 1 million U.S. vehicles in 2021. By 2025, Mobileye anticipates its fleet will span more than 25 million vehicles globally.