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Ford to Partner with Intel-owned Mobileye on Computer Vision-based Collision Avoidance Systems

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【Summary】U.S. automaker Ford announced a new partnership with computer vision pioneer Mobileye, in which Mobileye will supply its EyeQ computer vision and perception technology for Ford vehicles globally. Ford said the collaboration with Mobileye will be to develop improved camera-based collision avoidance systems for its vehicles equipped with its Co-Pilot360 technology, including the new F-150 and Mustang Mach-E electric crossover.

Eric Walz    Jul 20, 2020 2:30 PM PT
Ford to Partner with Intel-owned Mobileye on Computer Vision-based Collision Avoidance Systems

U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co is the latest automaker partnering with a tech company to further the development of advanced driver assist systems (ADAS). The automaker announced a new partnership with computer vision pioneer Mobileye, in which Mobileye will supply its EyeQ computer vision and perception technology for Ford vehicles globally. 

Ford said the collaboration with Mobileye will be to develop improved camera-based collision avoidance systems, including improved forward collision warning, as well as vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist detection for its vehicles equipped with Ford's Co-Pilot360 technology, including the F-150 and Mustang Mach-E electric crossover.

Ford's Co-Pilot360 suite of advanced driver assist technologies includes such features as Lane-Keep Assist, Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Lane Centering, as well as as well as Ford's "Active Drive Assist" hands-free driving feature that will be available on the all-new Mustang Mach-E and all-new F-150 pickup.

Mobileye's EyeQ system on chip (SoC) line of processors provides the power to support a suite of ADAS features based on a single camera sensor. Mobileye's computer vision technology can identify objects captured by a forward-facing camera, including lane markings, traffic signs, pedestrians and other vehicles and will support Ford's safety systems.

Future Ford models will use Mobileye's EyeQ3 and EyeQ4 family of system on chip (SoC) for Level 1 and Level 2 advanced driver-assistance systems. The EyeQ family of chips can support complex and computationally intense computer vision processing using minimal power. Mobileye's EyeQ4 SoC can process multiple sensors and other inputs required for semi-autonomous driving. 

Ford's Co-Pilot360 system currently offers Level 2 autonomous driving functions. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE International), Level 2 systems are those that control a vehicle's steering and acceleration and braking. However, its not considered to be "self-driving" and requires drivers to supervise the vehicle at all times. 

While Ford and Mobileye have worked together in the past, the new collaboration is the first time Ford is committing to the company's technology for the entire lifecycle of its next-generation vehicles. Both parties will work with designated Ford Tier 1 providers to supply the technology for vehicle integration during production.  

"It is a privilege to extend and expand our long-standing collaboration with a company that is so committed to safety on behalf of its global customer base," said Professor Amnon Shashua, president and CEO, Mobileye. "We look forward to working closely together to bring these functionalities to market in the full Ford product lineup."

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Mobileye's EyeQ family of system on chips (SoC) supports advanced computer vision processing.

Chipmaker Intel purchased Isreal-based Mobileye for $15.3 billion in 2017 in its push to supply hardware to the automotive industry. The $15 billion price tag Intel paid for Mobileye shows just how much companies expect the technology will be worth in the future.  

Intel and Mobileye are competing with several chipmakers including Nvidia, to provide chips to automakers with enough processing power to run advanced AI-powered autonomous driving software and computer vision systems for automated driving.

Ford will display Mobileye's logo in its SYNC driver-assist communication displays, making drivers aware that some of Ford's Co-Pilot360 technology features use advanced sensing technology provided by Mobileye.

"Providing people with extra confidence while driving is invaluable, and it's exactly what our available Ford Co-Pilot360 features are designed to do," said Lisa Drake, chief operating officer, North America; vice president, Global Purchasing, Ford Motor Company. "By customizing Mobileye's excellent software and sensing technology, Ford's great driver-assist features will continue to evolve and provide customers with confidence on the road throughout the life of their vehicles."

Speaking about the growing trend of automakers partnering with tech companies like Mobileye, Shashua said in May that its more beneficial if automakers collaborate instead of trying to compete with one another by developing their own proprietary technology. He feels it's too difficult for separate companies to cooperate, especially in the developing self-driving vehicles.

Mobileye supplied its EyeQ3 computer vision chip to electric automaker Tesla for the first version of the company's Autopilot automated driving system. Tesla has since developed its own computer vision system for Autopilot and dissolved the partnership.

Additionally, Ford is evaluating the use of Roadbook in its vehicles. Roadbook uses anonymized, crowd-sourced data collected anonymously from a vehicle's cameras to build a high-definition map that can be accessed by vehicles and leveraged by driver-assist technology, including Ford's new hands-free driving feature Active Drive Assist. 

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