Tesla Competitor Mobileye Testing Robotaxi in Michigan
Mobileye’s fully autonomous robotaxi has arrived in the U.S.
A testing program in Detroit, Michigan, marks a significant new phase for Mobileye Drive, the company’s autonomous tech that has been integrated into the all-electric ES8 SUV from Shanghai automaker NIO – often referred to as “China’s Tesla.”
It’s the first time the tech, which will constitute Mobileye’s Level 4 driverless solution of the future, has been assessed on American roads.
The Israeli company, bought by Intel in 2017, has vast experience in self-driving solutions, having delivered driver assistance systems in nearly 120 million vehicles.
But it claims Mobileye Drive is the most advanced version of its autonomous tech yet, thanks to a 360-degree suite of sensors including 11 cameras, six radars, three long-range lidars and six short-range lidars, powered by the company’s own EyeQ chip.
In addition, Mobileye Drive features what the company calls True Redundancy, which is claimed to enhance safety. Under this approach, the camera subsystem operates independently of the radar/lidar subsystem, providing more robust sensing of road conditions and other traffic, and essentially allowing each subsystem to act as a backup for the other.
The arrival in Detroit is the latest stage in a comprehensive testing program that has seen Mobileye’s development AVs operate in 20 cities across 10 countries on three continents.
The company prefers this approach to only testing in limited geographic areas, as it believes that self-driving technology must prove itself across different types of roads and situations, and adapt to varying climates and driving cultures.
To that extent, it has developed Mobileye Roadbook, which uses crowdsourced mapping and can gather data on the behavior of traffic in different places. The Mobileye Drive system can adapt to that local behavior, as it will have to do in Michigan where it will face dealing with the everyday challenges of American driving.
“Our Detroit testing of Mobileye Drive is helping us ensure that the system can bring forward the global commercialization of autonomous driving technology and deliver on its promise to vastly improve road safety,” said Johann “JJ” Jungwirth, senior vice president of autonomous vehicles at Mobileye, said.
Safety drivers will be behind the wheel of all the Mobileye vehicles tested in Detroit, and there are no plans yet to give rides to members of the public.
However, Mobileye says it is making preparations for fleets of Level 4 NIO ES8s to be rolled out for robotaxi services in Germany and Israel over the next few months.