Google's Waymo self-driving minivans come loaded with Intel chips

Waymo’s self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans feature Intel-based technologies for sensor processing general compute and connectivity enabling real-time decisions for full autonomy in city conditions

Intel is working with Waymo - formerly the Google self-driving auto project and now with Google's parent company Alphabet - to advance self-driving vehicle technology.

Intel stated that it has been working with Google since 2009 on the self-driving vehicle project. The Waymo vehicle already uses a number of components from Intel; Intel provides processing hardware for the vehicle such as Xeon processors, Arria FPGA (Field programmable gate array) chips - created to be programmed by the customer post manufacturing-, and XM modems.

Intel began supplying chips for the autonomous programme beginning in 2009, but that relationship grew into a deeper collaboration when Google began working with Fiat Chrysler to develop and install its autonomous driving technology into the carmaker's minivans.

Brian Krzanich, Chief Executive Officer of the semiconductor chipmaker, foresaw driverless future as "one of the big promises of artificial intelligence (AI)".

Brian Krzanich said: "Given the pace at which autonomous driving is coming to life, I fully expect my children's children will never have to drive a auto".

"That's an astounding thought: Something nearly 90 percent of Americans do every day will end within a generation".

The news of the collaboration sends out two messages, according to the Verge.

Intel has announced it will be working with Waymo to create a driverless vehicle system that doesn't require any human input. Intel's compute has powered the sensor suites and processing in Waymo's current fleet of vehicles, and claims that its tech will be efficient and powerful enough to enable them to reach level 4 and 5 autonomy eventually. The deal is said to have closed in June this year. U.S. auto rental giant Avis Budget earlier this year announced it will team up with Waymo on the self-driving cars being tested on Arizona roads.

Earlier this year Intel made a massive US$15bn investment in Jerusalem-based technology outfit Mobileye, a specialist in vision-based advanced driver assistance systems, but the latest announcement confirms it has been eyeing this sector for some time.



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