“If you ask me whether autonomous vehicles will become commonplace, my unequivocal answer is yes, there’s no question about it. The technology is almost there, the world is almost there, there’s an economic motive for getting there, and drivers will slowly start to get used to the idea that you can get rid of the boring task of driving.” – Amnon Shashua, CTO and Co-Founder of Mobileye
Human error is responsible for more than 90 percent of accidents, causing 1.5 million fatalities and 50 million injuries on the world’s roads each year. The economic damage from driver-caused car accidents is around $600 billion. Mobileye was built on the belief that technology can help prevent needless deaths and economic damage.
Technological advancement in the automobile industry is again about to alter the way we live, in a “once-in-a-century” kind of way. As a key player, Mobileye is committed to helping advance the world toward fully autonomous driving.
From ADAS to Autonomous
Mobileye’s core customers make up a large majority of the auto industry’s annual production volume and vehicles already on the road, but these partnerships go beyond commerce. Together, we are committed to enabling a future where traffic fatalities can be reduced in very meaningful ways. For example, in 2015, there were more than 35,000 traffic fatalities in the United States. Our goal is to bring that number down to below 350.
ADAS technologies like Automatic Emergency Braking can make a meaningful impact, but as adoption rates for AEB grows, our automaker partners at the same time have accelerated their development of Level 3 to Level 5 autonomous vehicles. These ambitious new programs are driving OEMs to look at Mobileye as a partner, not just a supplier.
Wide support is growing for autonomous vehicle development. In the media on a daily basis, the vehicle automation trend is driving rapid changes in the auto industry, bringing with it a host of new mobility players. From regulators who want fewer injuries and fatalities to city planners who want reduced congestion; from commuters who want less traffic to consumers who desire the ability to work, rest or shop during their drive, new and better business models are presenting themselves. Autonomous vehicles are the key to meeting all of these needs. Reaching the finish line is an extremely complex engineering challenge, requiring major investments and presenting technology risks.
We are beginning to see more legislation attached to the application of this new technology. The U.S. Department of Transportation for example recently released detailed guidelines for autonomous vehicles while also committing $4 billion over the next 10 years to accelerate safe vehicle automation.
What does the future of fully autonomous driving look like? Mobileye cannot predict exactly what the vehicle of the future will look like, or the exact timeline, but we can safely predict a few things about the future of mobility:
The fully autonomous car will have sensors all around the car. Those sensors will interpret the driving scene with a 360-degree awareness in order to produce an “Environmental Model”.
- Maps much more accurate than GPS, such as Mobileye’s Road Experience Management (REMTM) technology will also be a critical input to the “Environmental Model”. Highly accurate maps allow vehicles to locate themselves relative to lanes and road boundaries, to maintain a safe path under all circumstances.
- This “Environmental Model” will locate, identify, and classify moving objects, drivable paths and path delimiters (curbs, barriers, guard rails), pavement markings, traffic signs and traffic lights, and know where each path leads.
- The vehicle of the future will use Artificial Intelligence and deep learning to understand how to act on the rich information in a way that is similar to, but safer than, human driving.
- Eventually, thanks to the support of consumers, regulators and automakers, we expect that the vast majority of cars will have at least some highly-autonomous features.
- Mobileye believes that at some point in the not too distant future, a human driving a vehicle will seem dangerous.
Societal benefits from fully autonomous vehicles could be enormous:
- Substantially lower traffic fatalities and injuries.
- Improved vehicle utilization. The average vehicle today is used only 4% of the time. Autonomous vehicles in a ride-share environment would operate at a substantially higher rate.
- Consumers could access vehicles on a subscription basis, ordering a vehicle when necessary. The service would deliver autonomous vehicles when needed, wanted or scheduled. Or, consumers could drive a vehicle to work and then send the car back for their spouse or children to use.
- Less cars overall, but significantly higher usage and shorter lives (i.e. higher scrappage rates). Overall miles traveled are unlikely to diminish meaning that overall auto production is unlikely to be reduced.
- Less traffic congestion and more efficient city planning.
Fewer parking spaces. Studies estimate that there are approximately four parking spaces for each of the one billion vehicles on the road, accounting for 43,000 square miles of the Earth dedicated to parking.
- Humans spend an estimated 400 billion hours in vehicles every year. Autonomous vehicles have the potential to free up a tremendous amount of time for people to spend as they please.
- Vastly reduced risk pool means lower insurance costs.