Automakers and even technology giants have envisioned a world where drivers would no longer be needed, instead relying on complex software and communication procedures to have artificial intelligence drive our future cars.
The stage looks set for the XXI revolution of the automotive industry, with vehicles that have self-driving capabilities (intelligent cruise control, lane keeping assist, pedestrian detection and avoidance) already on the roads. Now, the industry experts, auto executives and analysts concur the autonomous age is upon us – with driverless vehicles communicating among each other and the surroundings to reduce traffic accidents and speed up our journeys. But before all that is possible, the underlying foundations need to be set – while the automakers and (maybe) technology giants such as Google and Apple will develop and manufacture the autonomous vehicles, it’s the auto parts suppliers and software makers that will make all that possible.
Many bullish investors have already started heavily pouring money into companies such as Mobileye NV, a producer of driverless car software. And such companies are not alone – for example recently a competitor – Freescale Semiconductor – also revealed a microprocessor that could compete with the former’s technology in a push to assist the auto industry’s autonomous drive. Established 15 years ago by Hebrew University professor Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram, Mobileye currently has a computer chip used in a proprietary system that can alert drivers if pedestrians are in danger or if the car departs its intended lane. According to the company’s IPO prospectus, such products and other systems in development would be used to achieve hands-free driving on the highway by 2016.