Intel’s autonomous driving unit Mobileye made an unusual announcement Tuesday: There's a forthcoming version of its EyeQ system-on-chip that appears not to include any technology developed by Intel.
The EyeQ Ultra, which is set for wide release in 2025, aims to deliver enough power for level four autonomous driving, which does not include full automation, but uses enough technology to allow cars to operate without drivers in some situations. Mobileye already makes a system that can handle level four autonomous driving, but it requires several chips: Integrating the tech onto a single processor will make it far more efficient. The seventh-generation EyeQ Ultra will be capable of 176 trillion operations per second, which is the performance equivalent of 10 of its current EyeQ5 chips put together.
What’s interesting about the announcement is that it doesn’t appear to include much — or any — influence from Intel's core chip designs. The 64 accelerator cores include technology based on the open-source RISC-V designs, two cores licensed from Arm and several of Mobileye’s own accelerator cores.
Mobileye said it plans to begin manufacturing the chips in 2023, and achieve high-volume production suitable for the automotive market in 2025. Mobileye already uses contract chip maker TSMC for its products, and the manufacturing timeline suggests it plans to continue. Intel has said its 5-nanometer process is slated to roll out in 2024.
But in December, Intel said that it planned to publicly list shares of Mobileye in a bet that the auto business will become more important to the chip maker in the future. Intel, which acquired Mobileye in 2017 for $15.3 billion, said it will retain a majority stake in the new public company when Mobileye lists in mid-2022. Intel also said the two companies would continue as strategic partners and collaborate on future projects in the automotive sector.