Mobileye, Former Tesla Partner, Just Cracked Autonomous Driving


Mobileye, which until recently was working with Tesla on autonomous driving, released a video on Wednesday that shows the company’s technology driving an Audi without human interaction. Thanks to an eight camera array, the car is capable of leaving space between other vehicles, braking at red lights, stopping quickly in an emergency, and changing lanes when appropriate.

The company is working with a number of partners to bring computer-based vision to cars, with the aim to produce an autonomous car by 2019. A partnership with Delphi, announced in August, aims to streamline this process and have a car ready for demonstration at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in January. Wednesday’s video suggests Mobileye is on target to meet this goal.

Until July, the company was working with Tesla to bring autonomy to its electric vehicles. Elon Musk’s vehicles used Mobileye’s EyeQ3 chip to provide the autopilot feature, a limited form of automation designed for cruising along highways. But soon after 40-year-old Josh Brown died in a fatal collision, in which the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed that the driver was using autopilot, the relationship turned sour.

Amnon Shashua and Elon Musk.

Getty Images / Bill Pugliano

Mobileye’s chief technology officer Amnon Shashua told investors in a conference call that the company would continue shipping the EyeQ3, but that continuing to work with Tesla was “not in the interest of Mobileye.” Musk said that Mobileye was negatively affected by having to support hundreds of legacy vehicles from a number of companies, contrasted with Tesla’s single focus on an integrated platform.

In October, Tesla took the wraps off its Hardware 2 platform, with the aim of enabling cross-country autonomous driving by the end of 2017. Through a series of Vimeo clips, Musk has demonstrated that the company has achieved autonomy behind-the-scenes. Mobileye may have caught up with Tesla on the “cool driving video” front, but the race is on to get a car on the road.

Watch Mobileye’s vehicle in action here: