Intel Diversifies Into Autonomous Driving

There’s nothing quite as enthusiastic as Intel getting into a new technological area, or as hang-dog when it surreptitiously exits the field having screwed up.

It’s like a puppy jumping up in expectation of a pat and slinking away bewildered when it gets a slap.

“I am excited to announce that Intel Capital is targeting more than $250 million of additional new investments over the next two years to make fully autonomous driving a reality,” said Intel’s CEO this week.

Intel being Intel it has defined the challenges of autonomous driving as being challenges which Intel’s technological strengths are qualified to address.

“Data is truly the new currency of the automotive world,” says Brian Krzanich, “it’s not enough just to capture the data. We have to turn the data into an actionable set of insights to get the full value out of it. To do that requires an end-to-end computing solution from the car through the network and to the cloud – and strong connectivity.”

Sod the sensors, the radars, the mapping, the anti-hacking security – for Intel autonomous driving is all about processing loads of data and Intel makes the processors which can crunch the most data.

So why does one expect this new diversification to go the same way as previous diversifications into mobile APs, PLDs, ASICs, XScale, LCOS, WiMAX, CLECs, VOIP, STB and foundry?

Can’t imagine.



  1. What an extraordinary story SEPAM, one can wonder at the astonishment of the TWA pilot! Thanks very much. I very much like your ideas for malfunctioning Ehangs but am just a little concerned that Ehang didn’t come up with similar plans themselves.

    • SecretEuroPatentAgentMan

      Ehang has not said much about emergency handling, not sure why. It might be that the marketing department considers all discussions of malfunctions and crashes to bad PR.

      I see they have a few patent applications going but this topic is not covered in the ones I found. There are probably more that are not published yet.

  2. Yes Ehang seems a bit problematic SEPAM, they say they want to sell to the public this year. On the other hand the Airbus project Vahana, which is also develoiping passenger carrying drones, is saying sale to the the public is ten years away. Some have pointed out that Ehang does not have a strategy in the event of malfunction. The passenger can do nothing, and Ehang says the drone will land itself if anything goes wrong. The problem is where it lands.

    • SecretEuroPatentAgentMan

      Airbus simply has to say this is ten years away since that is the time they will need. Smaller, nimbler companies need less time and will eat Airbus’ lunch. Ehang says it has redundancy built in. Since each arm has two rotors my guess is that the upper and the lower rotors are powered through separate circuits since that is teh simplest approach.

      Emergency landing is an interesting point but I think it will boil down to an automated approach to what pilots more or less do today: for each position they know where to divert to in case of trouble. Ehang has the luxury of not needing a landing strip so the route planning tool will most likely plan a route that routes them along a path that allows for safest emergency landings.

      Also it is amazing what kind of flights and landings you can survive and the most legendary of them all is the true (as in believe it or not) and legendary flight of the lawnchair pilot:

  3. Intel is well into drones SEPAM, in fact it’s bought some drone companies.

    • SecretEuroPatentAgentMan

      Ah. That makes sense.

      Now that Ehang is testing in Nevada to obtain permissions it would be stupid not to consider autonomous flight.

  4. SecretEuroPatentAgentMan

    With Ehang autonomous driving should also include flying in drone like vehicles. Has Intel looked into this or has it found Qualcomm has taken that position already?

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