Intel reveals how it plans to spend $250m on autonomous driving tech

16 Nov 2016

Colourful long exposure shot. Image: logoboom/Shutterstock

As part of its latest plans to advance the technology behind future autonomous vehicles, Intel has announced a $250m fund to be spread over the next two years.

Intel and rivals like Google and Apple are all caught in a race to see who will develop the first truly autonomous vehicle, capable of transforming a market that has changed little in over a hundred years.

The latest of these companies to announce an attempt to nudge itself one step closer to the finishing line is Intel, whose CEO Brian Krzanich revealed that the company plans to pump $250m into the technology over the next two years.

Staggering amounts of data

The announcement was made at the LA Auto Show Automobility conference, where Intel made its inaugural appearance at a line-up that is increasingly becoming more tech orientated with each passing year.

The focus of the technology being developed, Krzanich said, will be on how these cars will handle a deluge of data in the coming decades.

Among the sensors he highlighted as being crucial to the company’s development of an autonomous vehicle included advancing its cameras, radar, sonar, GPS and LIDAR.

All of this data adds up, Krzanich said, to the point that it overshadows the amount of data we generate on a daily basis.

While humans using their phones are expected to generate up to 1.5GB of data each day by 2020, he estimated that a single autonomous vehicle will generate approximately 4,000GB of data in the same period of time.

Data will be the oil of the 21st century

Intel has said it will use the funds to develop a car’s communication, context awareness, deep learning, security, safety and other as-yet unspecified areas.

“Going forward, the automotive ecosystem must tackle three challenges when it comes to data: the size of data sets, the intelligence development cycle to process data, and security,” Krzanich said in his blog.

“And to overcome these challenges, manufacturers and suppliers must achieve scalability – they need a means to collaborate, share and learn without losing their competitive position.

“Just as oil has transformed our world over the last century, data is poised to transform our world for the next hundred years – and beyond.”

This announcement comes just months after Intel announced it had acquired computer vision algorithm developer Itseez, to adapt its technology into its autonomous driving platform.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic