Intel and Waymo disclose longtime secret partnership on self-driving cars
Turns out Waymo, the Google-run autonomous car company with the most road miles, has been using Intel Corp. chips this whole time.
Just before Intel CEO Brian Krzanich was expected to speak at TechCrunch in San Francisco on Monday, the San Jose chip giant revealed it has been quietly partnering with the Google-owned self-driving car business since 2009.
In a Monday blog post, Krzanich said the company will continue the technical collaboration on its next generation of autonomous vehicles. “As Waymo’s self-driving technology becomes smarter and more capable, its high-performance hardware and software will require even more powerful and efficient compute,” Krzanich said in a blog post Monday. “By working closely with Waymo, Intel can offer Waymo’s fleet of vehicles the advanced processing power required for level 4 and 5 autonomy.”
Intel is racing against competitors like Nvidia Corp. to bring the first production of self-driving car technology to market. The Silicon Valley Business Journal in July first reported that Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) would be supplying Audi’s 2018 car called the A8, which is a “Level 3” automated car. Level 5 is considered fully autonomous. (Nvidia is also supplying technology for the Audi.)
Intel is expanding its San Jose self-driving car research and development lab this month and has brought on more automaker partners to collaborate with, including BMW and Continental AG. It declined to comment on whether Waymo or other partners are using the San Jose garage space.
Waymo’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) newest vehicles, the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans, feature Intel-based technologies for sensor processing, general compute and connectivity, and deploying full autonomy in city conditions, Monday’s post stated.
“It’s only recently that our relationship has deepened,” a company spokesperson told the Business Journal on Monday.
“Waymo engineers were able to work with Intel to integrate some of Intel’s most advanced processing technologies into Waymo’s compute platform for its self-driving minivans,” the spokesperson added.