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Mobileye, an Intel subsidiary developing L4 autonomous driving technology, announced a partnership with Zeekr, the fully electric Geely brand, to create electric autonomous vehicles (AVs) for consumers.
The companies plan to debut the vehicle in China in 2024, which would make it the first ever L4 consumer AV. Mobileye and Geely plan to later expand to global markets.
The vehicle will be built using six EyeQ 5s, Mobileye’s fifth generation autonomous driving chip, and other Mobileye technology, like it’s Road Experience Management (REM) mapping technology. REM is a crowdsourced, continuously updated map of roads all over the world.
The companies plan to use Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA), which will allow the company to offer software upgrades to vehicle owners remotely over the lifetime of a car. The SEA architecture includes redundant braking, steering and power.
Over the duration of the project, Mobileye plans to establish a local data center in China to enhance its China-related research.
“The broadening scope of our partnership reflects just how closely Mobileye and Zeekr are aligned on the vision for future mobility,” Amnon Shashua, Mobileye president and chief executive officer, said. “Zeekr’s confidence in Mobileye as a technology partner demonstrates our ability to execute toward joint goals and further solidify our industry leadership.”
In December 2021, Geely announced a partnership with Waymo, a company developing self-driving robotaxis.
Waymo plans to install its Waymo Driver into a Zeekr vehicle specifically for autonomous taxi rides. The vehicle will eventually be deployed as part of the Waymo One fleet in the United States.
Consumer autonomous vehicles
Geely’s partnership with Waymo takes a more popular route to AVs than it’s consumer approach with Mobileye. Many companies are testing AVs for services such as taxi rides, deliveries and trucking.
Consumer AVs provide additional obstacles, as many current AVs operate in heavily mapped and limited areas. For example, Waymo began testing autonomous vehicles in Phoenix in 2017. In 2020, the company launched a fully driverless robotaxi service to members of the Waymo One ride-hailing service. The robotaxis operated within a 50-square-mile area in the Arizona suburbs of Chandler, Tempe and Mesa.
Geely and Mobileye aren’t the only companies taking on the challenge, however. This week, General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced that the company plans to sell AVs to consumers by the middle of the decade at soonest.
GM owns Cruise, a company planning to deploy an autonomous robotaxi service in San Francisco. When Barra first mentioned GM was exploring consumer AVs in May 2021 during an earnings call, she said GM was considering leveraging AV technology from Cruise.
This isn’t the first collaboration between Mobileye and Geely. The companies previously worked together on developing advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).