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Live from New York it's...self-driving test vehicles?!
After receiving a New York state permit, Mobileye has started testing a small fleet of autonomous vehicles on NYC streets. The Intel subsidiary is also actively testing in Detroit, Munich, Tokyo, and cities across China and its home country, Israel.
The main business
Mobileye develops advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), and sells both specific components and white-labeled stacks to automakers.
Business is booming: Mobileye’s Q1 revenue jumped 48% year over year to $377 million, good for a $1.5-billion ’21 run rate. For reference, Intel paid $15.3 billion to acquire Mobileye in 2017. As Intel Fellow and Mobileye VP Jack Weast recently told us, the company is using ADAS to “cash-flow the investment in a driverless future.”
- It's unclear if the ADAS revenue covers all of its self-driving expenses, but most AV outfits are unmitigated money pits at this point. Mobileye is not.
Tesla has made serious strides toward vertically integrated automated driving, but in a bygone era, Mobileye was its ADAS supplier. The two companies share a similar AV strategy: gather real-world road data at scale and ladder up from driver-in-the-loop systems to autonomy. From a technical POV...
- Tesla is using a camera-only “pure vision” approach in its latest “Full Self-Driving Beta” V9 software architecture.
- Mobileye is (impressively) testing camera-only in NYC, and in parallel, honing a radar/lidar-only system in Israel, Intel spokesperson Robin Holt told the Brew. “We will eventually bring the two subsystems together but not at this point,” Holt said.
Bottom line: As far as US roads are concerned, Manhattan is AVs’ final boss mode. Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua says it’s been “very challenging” so far. We’ll take his word for it, and won’t hold our breath for unsupervised AVs in the Big Apple any time soon.—RD