Intel is taking on a more active role in its partnership with Google-spinoff Waymo in the effort to bring autonomous vehicles to the masses.
Brian Kraznich, the computer processor maker’s CEO, “talked up” the pairing in a blog posting Monday, saying Intel’s chips had been part of Waymo’s testing for “3 million miles of real-world driving so far.”
“...Waymo cars with Intel technology inside have already processed more self-driving car miles than any other autonomous fleet on U.S. roads,” he wrote. “Intel’s collaboration with Waymo ensures Intel will continue its leading role in helping realize the promise of autonomous driving and a safer, collision-free future.”
The partnership, according to Kraznich, puts Intel at autonomy’s “forefront... along with other industry leaders like Waymo.”
“We have been working with Waymo since 2009, but this is the first time either company has acknowledged the collaboration publicly,” wrote Robin Holt, an Intel spokesperson, in an emailed response to questions. “Our relationship has recently evolved from supplier to collaborator, which changes things a bit and prompted the disclosure of the relationship publicly.”
Financial details were not disclosed.
Waymo, based in Silicon Valley, spun off from Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., in 2016. Its goal was the development of autonomous vehicle technology to increase transportation safety.
Much of Waymo’s work developing the required technology has been done in-house. In addition to working with Intel, Waymo’s other major outside partnership has been with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
The automaker’s Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans were chosen to be the workhorse of Waymo’s autonomous fleet.
In a June blog post, Waymo’s lead industrial designer YooJung Ahn and lead systems engineer Jamie Waydo, described the Pacifica’s usefulness.
“By focusing on mass-produced vehicles like the Pacifica minivan, we’ll be able to bring fully self-driving technology to more people, more quickly,” Ahn and Waydo wrote. “The Pacifica minivans are equipped with our latest generation of custom-built radar, lidar and visions systems and an all-new AI compute platform, so they can see even further and sharper.
“They can also reach full speed (where the Firefly is limited to 25 mph), and the interior is equipped with creature comforts that passengers expect in their vehicles today — which makes our initial fleet of 600 self-driving minivans a perfect fit for our early rider program.”