The first phase of the Intel and Mobileye 100-car autonomous vehicle (AV) fleet has begun on Jerusalem roads. The technology is being driven on the road to demonstrate the power of the Mobileye approach and technology, to prove that the Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS) model increases safety, and to integrate key learnings into products and customer projects.
In the coming months, the Mobileye fleet will expand to the U.S. and other regions. While the AV fleet is not the first on the road, it represents a novel approach that challenges conventional wisdom in multiple areas. Leveraging over 20 years of experience in computer vision and artificial intelligence, our vehicles are proving the Mobileye-Intel solution is the most efficient and effective.
Mobileye is based in Israel and wanted to demonstrate that the technology can work in any geography and under all driving conditions. Jerusalem is notorious for aggressive driving. There aren’t perfectly marked roads. And there are complicated merges. People don’t always use crosswalks. You can’t have an autonomous car traveling at an overly cautious speed, congesting traffic or potentially causing an accident. You must drive assertively and make quick decisions like a local driver.
During this initial phase, the fleet is powered only by cameras. In a 360-degree configuration, each vehicle uses 12 cameras, with eight cameras providing long-range surround view and four cameras utilized for parking. The goal in this phase is to prove that we can create a comprehensive end-to-end solution from processing only the camera data.
The radar/lidar layer will be added in the coming weeks when a second development and then synergies among sensing modalities can be used for increasing the “comfort” of driving.
The end-to-end compute system in the AV fleet is powered by four Mobileye EyeQ4s. An EyeQ4 SoC has 2.5 Terra OP/s (TOP/s) (for deep networks with an 8-bit representation) running at 6 watts of power. Produced in 2018, the EyeQ4 is Mobileye’s latest SoC and this year will see four production launches, with an additional 12 production launches slated for 2019. The SoC targeting fully autonomous is the Mobileye EyeQ®5, whose engineering samples are due later this year. An EyeQ5 has 24 TOP/s and is roughly 10 times more powerful than an EyeQ4. In production we are planning for three EyeQ5s to power a full L4/L5 AV. Therefore, the current system on roads today includes approximately one-tenth of the computing power we will have available in our next-gen EyeQ5-based compute system beginning in early 2019.
The Mobileye-Intel approach is contrary to industry common practice in the field, which is to over-subscribe the computing needs during R&D (i.e., “give me infinite computing power for development”) and then later try to optimize to reduce costs and power consumption. They beleive, on the other hand, are executing a more effective strategy by under-subscribing the computing needs so that they maintain focus on developing the most efficient algorithms for the sensing state, driving policy and vehicle control.