Founding & Early Leadership
Mobileye was founded in 1999, by Prof. Amnon Shashua, when he evolved his academic research at the Hebrew University into a monocular vision system to detect vehicles using only a camera and software algorithms on a processor. The inception of the company followed Shashua’s connections with the auto manufacturers through his previous startup Cognitens. Following a critical meeting with an Asian OEM, which secured funding for a concept demo, Shashua formed a team with two of his close friends, Ziv Aviram and Norio Ichihashi. Shashua and Aviram became a two-in-the-box in managing the new startup where Aviram was responsible for the operations, finance and investor relations and Shashua for the technology, R&D, and the strategic vision of the company. The two-in-the-box arrangement continued through taking the company public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014, and until 2017, when Mobileye was acquired by Intel Corp. After the acquisition, Aviram retired and Shashua took over the CEO position. Ichihashi was responsible for the Asian market which was the first engagement market with OEMs and Tier-1s until 2001.
It was at that time when Dr. Gideon Stein, who had recently completed his doctoral studies at MIT under Shashua's co-supervision, was called to lead the R&D of Mobileye. In 2005, Dr. Gaby Hayon took over R&D - a position which he holds to this day - while Stein became the Chief Scientist, a role which he held until 2019.
The Birth of EyeQ
In 2001, Mobileye's leadership realized that designing a full System-on-Chip dedicated to the massive computational loads of the computer vision stack was the way to realize the company’s full potential. At that time, most companies focused on hardware or software and did not design both simultaneously and in concert. This was considered a rather radical and even risky decision, but Mobileye’s leadership felt it was critical in order to achieve their ambitious goals. To tackle this challenge, Elchanan Rushinek joined the executive team to form and lead Mobileye's SoC design team. The first SoC, EyeQ1 running on 180 nanometer process, was sampled in 2004. Today, five EyeQ generations and close to 100 million EyeQ chips later, Rushinek is still running Engineering at Mobileye.
From ADAS to AV and Back
When the company was founded, the category of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) was in its infancy and the industry was dominated by the belief that expensive radar sensors were necessary in order to perform the necessary functions, or at the very least two cameras (stereo vision) that utilize traditional triangulation methods to calculate range and velocity. Based on his pioneering academic research, Shashua proved that critical safety functions such as Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and basically all perception tasks could be achieved using a single camera (mono vision). The ability to combine those revolutionary algorithms with a custom designed and highly efficient EyeQ SoC mounted on the windshield was a true game changer for the industry, making ADAS relevant for the mass market. From that point on Mobileye established many industry firsts and pioneered many of the vision-based ADAS functions prevalent today.
After becoming a world leader in computer vision for ADAS, around 2013, Mobileye came to the understanding that the ADAS technology it had been developing made up some of the crucial building blocks needed to develop a fully autonomous car, and began pursuing this in earnest. It was at that time that Prof. Shai Shalev-Shwartz, a close friend, colleague and research partner of Shashua joined Mobileye in a full-time capacity. In 2019, Shalev-Shwartz became the CTO of Mobileye – a position he holds to this day.
Graduating from ADAS to AV did not only require additional sensors and more advanced algorithms, but also requires solving the industry-wide challenges of regulating AV safety, creating HD maps for AVs at scale, and driving down the cost of the hardware needed for each vehicle – all areas where Mobileye is a leader in the industry by tackling the challenges of scale head on. In the area of defining safety for AVs, Shalev-Shwartz and Shashua co-authored a seminal research paper about a new formal model for defining what safety means in the context of making driving decisions. The model, called Responsibility-Sensitive-Safety (RSS), has gained momentum with industry and regulatory bodies for defining the assumptions, in a mathematical form, that drivers make in balancing safety and utility while providing formal guarantees against causing an accident. RSS also became the backbone of Mobileye’s “driving policy” by replacing “predictions” that classical robotics-inspired Policy algorithms rely on – while consuming huge computational resources – with “intentions” thus requiring a fraction of the computational capacity.
Additionally, Mobileye's AV mapping technology – Road Experience Management™ – again utilizes Mobileye's computer vision expertise to create a highly compelling solution for cost effective and geographically scalable mapping. REM™ leverages the global crowd of Mobileye-equipped vehicles to collect relevant data from the road, and send it to the cloud at very low bandwidth, automatically creating a map of the world for AVs.
Since the acquisition by Intel, Mobileye has experienced vast growth. In March 2017, Mobileye had over 750 employees whereas today there are over 2500 employees in a full time capacity. Revenue as well went from just over $350 million at the end of 2016, to close to $1B at the end of 2020, and during the first nine months of 2021 ending September, the year-on-year revenue growth stands at 62%.
Today, the company offers a variety of autonomous mobility solutions, headed by Erez Dagan who has been with Mobileye since 2002 joining as a student intern, and today leads the Product & Strategy division. Mobileye has revealed a production ready L4 robotaxi with commercial deployments in Tel Aviv and Munich in 2022, and is performing AV testing on three continents, all alongside its significant ADAS business. In fact, the ADAS business has significantly benefited from having R&D for autonomous driving under the same roof. Most notably, based on its computer vision expertise, Mobileye has built a fully autonomous vehicle which can drive on cameras alone. This 11-camera subsystem has now been productized into the ADAS realm, offering one of the world's leading premium driver assist solutions for a variety of hands-free driving functions: Mobileye SuperVision™. The first vehicle equipped with Mobileye SuperVision™ is already in production today with the Geely group. In this way Mobileye has come full circle from a leader in the ADAS revolution, to leading the ADAS evolution to autonomous driving, offering a suite of mature solutions from basic driver assist to premium driver assist, to fully autonomous, working toward safer and smarter mobility for more people each day.
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