Intel's Mobileye Demonstrates Completely Camera-Based Autonomous Driving

Many people who lack imagination say that Tesla doesn’t have enough sensors on their vehicles to achieve completely driverless operation in a future software update. A team of engineers at Intel owned Mobileye, however, have just demonstrated an autonomous ride with even fewer sensors than you’ll find on a Tesla. In the video linked below, you’ll see one of Intel’s cars performing a drive using just cameras. No radar or ultrasonic sensors at all.

You may remember Mobileye as the Israeli company that provided Autopilot 1 to Tesla when the feature first launched in 2014. Since then, Intel has acquired the company and is working to expand its technology with an approach that’s similar to that of Autopilot. While Mobileye does have teams working on LIDAR sensing technologies, they also have a team working on a completely camera-based system.

As far as I can tell, Mobileye seems to be the #2 company to watch in the autonomous space. Their approach seems ready for production, and their experience licensing their technology and working with vehicle manufacturers should come in handy if they want to try and license their stack as an Autopilot replacement for legacy auto OEMs. They also have the backing of a very experienced chipmaker, which will be essential given that Tesla is designing their own hardware to optimize the performance of their Autopilot software.

The bottom line? If you have any doubt that your Tesla has the capabilities to operate itself completely autonomously check out this unedited video showing a car driving itself in Israel with just cameras. Of course, getting your autonomous vehicle to perfect one fixed route is easy. What’s challenging is getting the vehicle to respond to any kind of unknown situation with imperfect maps and tricky edge cases. Regardless, Mobileye’s demonstration of their camera-only driving technology remains impressive.

If cameras alone are enough to drive a car, the cameras, radar, and ultrasonic sensors found on every Tesla should be more than sufficient. All you need is a software update, and the fleet wakes up.

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4 thoughts on “Intel's Mobileye Demonstrates Completely Camera-Based Autonomous Driving

    1. I actually don’t think they really changed their stance at all. My impression has been for a while that Mobileye’s talk of adding LiDAR at some point has always just been to pacify those jumpy investors who believe in the common myth about LiDAR being indispensable — while internally, they always intended to achieve autonomy based on cameras only… Basically, instead of arguing, they just play along, until able to prove that LiDAR is redundant.

  1. Impressive demo, indeed. I would note that based on their video it appears they are using some kind of advance route mapping like perhaps HD maps that shows where they will go in advance. Included in that appear to be lane lines and probably other hard coded features.
    Again, impressive demo, but looks pretty geofenced to me.
    Go camera vision.

  2. I guess this is kinda obvious, but still worth pointing out: Tesla’s strategy for achieving full autonomy was indeed mostly likely inspired by Mobileye in the first place, considering they were originally the supplier for Tesla… Or maybe Tesla chose them as a supplier *because* their strategy aligned. Either way, it’s not a coincidence.

    BTW, the single most important aspect of this strategy is rolling out the same technology for ADAS first, thus getting the sensors deployed in a large fleet, in order to collect training data for eventual autonomy… Though the indirection through car makers is certainly making it more tricky for Mobileye.

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