Tesla’s autonomous cars need to find a new driver. Mobileye, the Israeli computer vision and machine learning company driving Tesla’s Autopilot, announced today that it won’t develop further technology for Tesla.
Mobileye’s chief technology officer Amnon Shashua told investors in a quarterly conference call that the company will not provide Tesla with technology other than the EyeQ3 processor Tesla already has. It’s not a clean break, but means that Tesla will need to find someone else to make the fully autonomous driving section of Elon Musk’s Master Plan Part Deux a reality.
Shashua did not want to encourage speculation about Mobileye’s relationship with Tesla, but did provide a hint to what’s next in the long term.
“EyeQ3 shipments will continue for the near future, and maybe for the longer future,” Shashua told investors. “We simply decided where we wanted to put our resources for the future of autonomous driving.”
Mobileye will be working with 13 companies, including BMW and Intel, to develop fully autonomous vehicles. Tesla currently uses Mobileye’s EyeQ3 cameras for semi-autonomous, camera-only driving. It has come under scrutiny after the first fatal crash — not to mention numerous false alarms — but Musk has remained optimistic that Tesla’s autonomous driving is the way of the future. Shashua suggested that Mobileye, on the other hand, doesn’t need people digging into the safety of the technology while it’s still being worked on.
“In moving forward with full autonomy,” Shashua said, “we think it is not in the interest of Mobileye to continue moving forward with Tesla.”
The move reflects the heavy competition in autonomous technology. While Tesla’s cars still have one of the most advanced semi-autonomous systems available to the public, Elon Musk’s flagship company isn’t the only one racing to put self-driving cars in the hands of the consumer.
But Mobileye also isn’t the only company that provides the camera technology. Velodyne, Valeo, and Quanergy all provide car companies and Google with camera, radar, and LIDAR technology. Mobileye’s stock took a tumble after the investor call, despite assurances that the company has a deal with BMW, an established car manufacturer.
As for who will be developing what comes next for Tesla, we’ll just have to wait and see, until the company or another Elon Musk Twitter rant updates us on the situation.