When Intel Met Waymo
Intel and Alphabet’s self-driving division Waymo announced on September 18 a new partnership that would see both companies working together on self-driving car technology in the future. As noted by Reuters, the move marks a first for Waymo, which has done most of its development internally.
Click to View Full Infographic
“With so much life-saving potential, it’s a rapid transformation that Intel is excited to be at the forefront of along with other industry leaders like Waymo,” said Intel’s Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich in a statement.
As a result of the collaboration, Waymo’s self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans are now equipped with Intel’s own technology used for sensor processing, general computing, and connectivity. With Intel, Waymo’s autonomous cars have covered more ground than any other fleet of autonomous cars currently in operation, acquiring over 3 million miles of cumulative road travel — Waymo’s actual mileage is higher than this, however, as the company reached 3 million miles on its own by May, and that’s after all the progress it made in 2016.
Onward to Full Autonomy
“As Waymo’s self-driving technology becomes smarter and more capable, its high-performance hardware and software will require even more powerful and efficient compute [sic],” added Krzanich.
Krzanich went on to explain that by working together, Intel can provide Waymo’s vehicles with the necessary processing power to reach level 4 and 5 autonomy — the highest levels of self-driving, in which the vehicle’s systems are in control of nearly every aspect of the driving experience and neither need, nor expect, human input.
Waymo began testing it’s self-driving vehicles in Phoenix, Arizona in April as part of its Early Riders Program. Those accepted were able to incorporate the cars into their daily lives, before sharing their opinions with the company. People can still sign up for the program, though Waymo notes it’s only taking a few groups at a time.