Delphi Automotive PLC and Mobileye NV on Tuesday announced plans to jointly develop a fully autonomous vehicle system that the suppliers expect will be ready for production in 2019.
Each company is bringing different technologies to the table to create the driverless car system. Mobileye specializes in real-time mapping, while Delphi specializes in software and sensors, including cameras, LiDAR and radar. The two companies say automakers will be able to buy the system and install it on a range of vehicle platforms, from small cars to SUVs and crossovers and could offer them to the public as soon as late 2019 or 2020.
“This partnership will allow us to give our customers an increased level of automated capabilities faster and more cost effective,” Kevin Clark, Delphi’s CEO, said in a statement. “The collective expertise of our two organizations will accelerate the creation of new approaches and capabilities that would likely not have been possible working alone. This is a win-win for both companies and our customers.”
Clark declined to reveal specifics about investment, but said the two suppliers are combining to pour in “hundreds of millions” of dollars on the project.
The proposed system would include a steering wheel and pedals, allowing for the possibility of a driver taking over in an emergency, Clark said. It would feature new software and hardware from Mobileye that would go into a Delphi-owned control module that uses data to make driving decisions.
The pair will showcase the fully autonomous vehicle system at the upcoming CES technology trade show in Las Vegas in January, and will begin fleet testing in Singapore and a number of other regions shortly thereafter.
Delphi has been experimenting with autonomous car technology for years. Two years ago it demonstrated its autonomous vehicle system in a coast-to-coast drive across the country, and at the most recent CES it showed off an advanced autonomous vehicle system that interacted with traffic lights, pedestrian phones and other infrastructure on Las Vegas streets. It recently announced a pilot program in Singapore that will feature driverless pods — without a steering wheel or pedals — ferrying passengers around a business park there by decade’s end.
Mobileye helped provide technology for Tesla’s Autopilot driver assist system, but the two companies split up earlier this year following a fatal crash involving the technology.
“Our partnership with Delphi will accelerate the time to market and enable customers to adopt Level 4/5 automation without the need for huge capital investments, thereby creating a formidable advantage for them,” Amnon Shashua, Mobileye chairman and chief technology officer, said in a statement.
The race to develop driverless cars has recently shifted into high gear.
Ford Motor Co. last week said it will have a fully driverless vehicle available for commercial purposes in 2021, and Uber last week said it will begin offering autonomous car rides in the coming weeks. The California ride-hailing service also purchased Otto, a startup working on self-driving big-rig technology.
General Motors Co. is partnering with Lyft to develop self-driving Chevrolet Bolts, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is providing Chrysler Pacificas to Google Inc. to outfit with autonomous technology.
Mobileye earlier this year announced a partnership with BMW and Intel Corp. to develop self-driving cars by 2021. Shashua said the Delphi partnership will be complimentary to the work it’s doing with BMW and Intel.
“The goal here is to build a technology that can be offered to our customers,” he said. “Whatever we do with Delphi would definitely help any other alliance we have with car manufacturers.”