High-speed autonomous driving arrives this year

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Bloomberg reports that Ziv Aviram, chief executive officer of Mobileye NV, regularly drives part of his 42-mile route to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem without touching the steering wheel of his Audi A7, free to check emails and check news feeds on the way to work using his iPhone.

And he said the on-board chips and software used to accomplish this autonomy will reach consumers for the first time this year, although he would not say with which carmaker. Three more manufacturers will introduce the features in the next two years, and nine others are preparing to follow, he said.

The Mobileye system goes beyond Audi’s Jam Assist technology launch earlier this year on the new Q7 (see Hands up for who’s up for hands off?)

Mobileye’s plans for bringing hands-free driving to market marks a contrast with the headline-grabbing effort by Google, whose high-tech, ground up approach to full autonomy is some years away from becoming a regular sight on public roads.

Mobileye’s assisted-driving technology applies algorithms to video images taken from a single camera to detect nearby vehicles, pedestrians, traffic lights or lane departures. It warns drivers of potential hazards or applies autonomous braking and has led to the development of chips and systems that will be used in fully autonomous vehicles.

Automakers will be able to produce a driverless car as soon as 2021, with Mobileye technology and other sensors costing £650 or less, according to the company.

Aviram said he doesn’t see Google’s more expensive prototype as a practical rival. Mobileye is already making money with its ADAS systems The company’s revenue, mainly from driver-assistance technology, is expected to grow 53% this year to £141M, according to the average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Seven years from now, the majority of Mobileye’s revenue will come from semi-autonomous and autonomous cars, Aviram said.

“We believe in 20 years, the world will be free of accidents. The pace will be according to what risk the automakers are willing to take.”


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