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Intel to deploy autonomous cars this year

Intel has officially joined the autonomous car race, saying it will have test vehicles on the road this year. The chipmaker said these will be fully autonomous vehicles and will leverage the technology Intel has acquired through its $15.3 billion purchase of Israel’s Mobileye.

Mobileye, Intel, BMW and Delphi are already partners in an initiative aimed at creating software for autonomous vehicles, and have set 2021 as their deadline for bringing the platform to market. Intel said its independent effort with Mobileye will not disrupt this partnership.

“This does not replace any customer activities; it is additive to them,” said Amnon Shashua, who is set to take over as the new CEO of Mobileye. “Our customers will benefit from our ability to use this fleet to accelerate our technology development. We want to enable automakers to deliver driverless cars faster while reducing costs – data we collect will save our customers significant costs.”

Intel sees data as the true driver of the connected car, and the company plans to leverage its portfolio across devices, servers and network infrastructure to move and process data in order to enable safe autonomous driving. The Mobileye acquisition gave the company access chips that enable cars to “see” and navigate. Now that Mobileye is part of Intel, the chipmaker is moving its connected car team to Israel.

Intel said it will test its autonomous cars in Arizona, Israel and Europe. Shashua said this is important because various parts of the world have different driving styles as well as different road conditions. Altogether, Intel plans to build 100 test vehicles, using several different makes and models.

No other company has yet committed to building a specific number of autonomous cars, but Volvo has said it will be selling driverless cars by 2021. Apple, Google and Tesla already have driverless cars on the road, and Samsung is one of several companies set to test autonomous cars in South Korea.

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