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Intel's Unit Mobileye Plans to Deploy Autonomous Robotaxis in the U.S. in 2024 as Part of a New Collaboration

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【Summary】Mobileye, the self-driving technology unit of chipmaker Intel Corp, plans to deploy fully-autonomous passenger shuttles in a new strategic collaboration with Austria-based electric vehicle developer Benteler EV Systems and Florida-based mobility provider Beep. The three companies will collaborate on the development and deployment of automotive-grade, fully electric, autonomous people movers in public and private communities across North America in 2024.

Eric Walz    Feb 14, 2022 2:00 PM PT
Intel's Unit Mobileye Plans to Deploy Autonomous Robotaxis in the U.S. in 2024 as Part of a New Collaboration

Mobileye, the self-driving technology unit of chipmaker Intel Corp, plans to deploy fully-autonomous passenger shuttles in a new strategic collaboration with Austria-based electric vehicle developer Benteler EV Systems and Florida-based mobility provider Beep.

The three companies will collaborate on the development and deployment of automotive-grade, fully electric, autonomous people movers in public and private communities across North America in 2024.

The vehicles will be aimed at first- and last-mile use cases in urban areas, according to Intel. 

Beep's autonomous shuttles already serve communities, campuses, and municipalities throughout North America. The company's autonomous vehicles operate in geo-fenced areas to help address traffic congestion and alleviate parking problems in urban areas.

Beep provides its customers with turnkey mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) solutions, including route planning, securing regulatory approvals and addressing all community requirements of managing a mobility service.

Intel purchased Mobileye in 2017 for $15.3 billion in order gain a foothold in the automotive industry, which is being transformed by technology and electrification. Mobileye plans to be a global leader in autonomous driving technology and the $15 billion+ Intel paid for Mobileye shows just how much companies expect the technology to be worth in the future. 

Intel's Mobileye unit is emerging as an industry leader in the development of autonomous driving technology. To date, it has shipped more than 100 million computer vision solutions for the established driving-assistance market. 

Mobileye also has one of the most widely dispersed autonomous fleets in the world, operating in Israel, Germany, Japan, China, France and the U.S.

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The collaboration between Benteler EV Systems, Beep and Mobileye will include the development and deployment of a fully autonomous (SAE Level 4) electric mover that meets automotive industry and safety standards for operation on public roads.  

Benteler EV Systems will design and manufacture the self-driving vehicles, while Mobileye will provide its autonomous driving technology that will be added during production, which will take place in the U.S. 

Benteler is well known for its scalable and modular platform for electric vehicles, which is called the "Benteler Electric Drive System". The company offers first-class engineering, and global manufacturing expertise. 

"The full benefits of autonomy can only be reached with scale. Working with Beep and Benteler, Mobileye aims to mass-produce first- and last-mile self-driving mobility solutions that will enable the convenient, accessible and safe movement of people across North America," said Johann Jungwirth, vice president of Mobility-as-a-Service at Mobileye.

The purpose-built autonomous mover from Benteler EV Systems will be powered by Mobileye's "Mobileye Drive" self-driving technology stack combined with Beep's technology and mobility services.

Mobileye developed an entire computer vision-based autonomous driving hardware and software stack for autonomous vehicles. The company's computer vision technology can be used to identify lane markings, traffic signs, pedestrians, bicyclists and other vehicles to help a self-driving vehicle navigate.

Mobileye's EyeQ4 system-on-a-chip (SoC) is one of the world's most advanced computer vision processors. It can perform complex and computationally intensive computer vision algorithms using minimal power. The EyeQ4 SoC can also process data from multiple vehicle sensors required for semi-autonomous driving. 

In June of last year, Mobileye began testing its self-driving technology in New York City, one of the most challenging environments for self-driving vehicles to operate in. 

Mobileye said that testing in NYC will prove how well its self-driving technology can handle the city's chaotic streets packed with vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, jaywalkers, double parked cars and a host of other challenges that a self-driving vehicle will face in the real world.

At the time, Mobileye Mobileye Chief Executive Amnon Shashua said the ability to navigate the city's streets is a crucial next step towards commercializing autonomous vehicles, such as robotaxis that can handle a range of driving environments.

Beep is already testing its autonomous electric shuttles on public roads in the U.S. The company said it provided tens of thousands of autonomous rides in 2021 alone. Beep has also worked closely with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as part of its autonomous vehicle test programs with an emphasis on safety.

Much of the focus of self-driving technology developers like Mobileye is to deploy vehicles for commercial mobility services, including autonomous freight and last-mile delivery. The demand is growing for mobility services using electric vehicles that can help reduce traffic and pollution in urban areas.

"Multi passenger micro-transit needs are ever-increasing in our cities and towns globally and must be addressed in order to reduce road congestion, protect the environment and provide safe, reliable mobility for all to access," explained Hinrich Woebcken, advisory board member for Beep and former CEO of Volkswagen North America. "Bringing to market an affordable, automotive-grade, electric, autonomous mover is a solution that will transform mobility as we know it today."

After launching in the U.S. in 2024, the three companies plan to expand to other countries to help deliver what they describe as the mobility of the future.

In December, Intel announced its intention to take its self-driving unit Mobileye public in the U.S. in mid-2022 via an initial public offering (IPO) of newly issued Mobileye stock. According to Intel, the move will unlock the value of Mobileye for Intel shareholders by creating a separate publicly traded company.

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