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Delphi, Mobileye autonomous vehicle system to be production ready by 2019

24 August 2016 IHS Markit Automotive Expert

Delphi and Mobileye, key suppliers of systems needed for autonomous driving, are teaming up to develop a new autonomous driving system. The tie-up has the potential to bring an autonomous system to the market more quickly, and to make it available to automakers that might not have the resources to develop one independently.

  • Significance: Delphi and Mobileye are the latest companies to make an announcement about the development of SAE L4/L5 autonomous vehicle systems, the level at which no human intervention is required, although initially the project is being developed for vehicles with a steering wheel and brake and accelerator pedals.
  • Implications: The two companies forecast their system will be ready for production by 2019, but commercial deployment will be dependent on when an automaker buys the system and how quickly it can be integrated into an all-new or existing production vehicle.
  • Outlook: The Mobileye and Delphi venture does have the potential for speeding up deployment of autonomous vehicles, particularly for automakers without the resources to develop these systems independently. While the Mobileye and Delphi partnership will develop a system that allows for traditional driver controls, it will essentially skip SAE Level 3, which requires a person to be alert and ready to take over at any time, and focus on developing to Levels 4 and 5. We will see some automakers continue to develop to Level 3, but skipping that level delivers a more direct path to autonomous vehicles.

Delphi and Mobileye are the latest companies to announce plans for the development of Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Level 4 (L4) and Level 5 (L5) autonomous vehicle systems, levels at which no human intervention is required. According to the US-based SAE's definitions, L4 systems operate in limited driving environments and L5 in all driving environments. Ford announced this month that it is developing an SAE L4 autonomous vehicle to be launched in 2021, while Uber and Volvo have also announced a joint programme of autonomous vehicle development.

Mobileye, a Netherlands-based technology company that develops vision-based advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and UK-based components supplier Delphi say that their joint programme will establish a production-ready SAE L4/5 automated driving solution by 2019, although the companies declined to indicate the amount of investment involved. According to reports, the link-up involves no investment in one company by the other. While the two companies expect to develop a production-ready system by 2019, market deployment will depend on if an automaker opts to use such a system and how long it takes to integrate it into its vehicles and bring them to the market, which might not happen until 2020 or later.

The two partners are developing what they call a Central Sensing Localization and Planning (CSLP) platform, and they expect the system to accelerate the time for market deployment of a complete automated driving solution. A joint statement said, "The program will result in an end-to-end production-intent fully automated vehicle solution, with the level of performance and functional safety required for rapid integration into diverse vehicle platforms for a range of customers worldwide."

The partners plan to display the CSLP platform at the Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, in January 2017.

Initially, the project is being developed for vehicles with a steering wheel and brake and accelerator pedals, with the capability to allow a human to take over in an emergency. However, Delphi also told reporters during a conference call announcing the system that it is seeing more demand for "active solutions in L4 and L5", although some automakers want to use Level 3 (L3). The issue with L3, which requires a human driver to provide back-up and to be ready to take over in an emergency, is that designing a human-machine interface (HMI) able to keep a driver on track and avoid incidents resulting from driver distraction is complex and daunting. According to IHS Automotive analyst Mark Boyadjis, in an L4 or L5 interior, "many of the challenges can simply be wiped from the drawing board… [at L4], the interior HMI becomes a more entertainment-focused user experience with a pursuit of enjoyment over safety and driver attention management."

The programme will draw on expertise in both companies in a highly complementary fashion. The two will draw on Mobileye's experience in computer vision systems, mapping, localisation and machine learning focused on the automotive domain and Delphi's automated driving software, sensors and systems integration expertise. Key technologies to be used in the systems include Mobileye's EyeQ 4/5 System on a Chip (SoC) with sensor signal processing, fusion, world-view generation and Road Experience Management (REM) system. The Mobileye system will be used for mapping and vehicle localisation. Delphi will provide and incorporate automated driving software algorithms, including Path and Motion Planning features, which Delphi acquired with its purchase of Ottomatika, as well as the company's multi-domain controller (MDC) and its full camera, radar and LiDAR suite.

The two companies will work together on the sensor fusion technology and next-generation human-like driving features. According to Delphi and Mobileye, that work will combine Ottomatika's driving behaviour modelling with Mobileye's deep reinforcement learning, to develop driving capabilities necessary for negotiating with other human drivers and pedestrians in complex situations. According to IHS Automotive principal analyst Jeremy Carlson, that will involve "essentially the best of both Delphi's and Mobileye's advanced software expertise and eventual products in that area".

In a company statement, Professor Amnon Shashua, Mobileye chairman and chief technology officer, said, "The Mobileye and Delphi relationship started in 2002 with the implementation of what was one of the most advanced active safety systems of the time. Our long history together is key to the success of this ambitious endeavor. Our partnership with Delphi will accelerate the time to market and enable customers to adopt Level 4/5 automation without the need for huge capital investments, thereby creating a formidable advantage for them."

In a statement, Kevin Clark, Delphi president and chief executive officer, said, "This partnership will allow us to give our customers an increased level of automated capabilities faster and more cost effectively. The collective expertise of our two organizations will accelerate the creation of new approaches and capabilities that would likely not have been possible working alone."

Outlook and implications

The Mobileye and Delphi venture does have the potential to speed up market deployment of autonomous vehicles, particularly for automakers without the resources to develop these systems independently. While the Mobileye/Delphi partnership will develop a system that allows for traditional driver controls, it is essentially skipping SAE Level 3, which requires a person to be alert and ready to take over at any time, and focusing on developing to L4 and L5 situations. Along the path to autonomous vehicles, we will see some automakers continue on the path that includes L3 development, but skipping that level may ultimately be chosen more frequently, as it delivers a more direct route.

Egil Juliussen, director of research at IHS Automotive, said that "there will be other OEMs that will also skip Level 3. It also seems that Level 4/5 solutions are coming faster than previous forecast, making it easier to skip Level 3. Additionally, city-specific, low-speed and controlled environment tests using SAE Level 4 technology (for example, in Singapore and other cities) will provide the more comprehensive testing results needed to move the L4-L5 technology forward quickly".

The platform that Delphi and Mobileye are developing involves the hardware and software necessary to support autonomous driving − the sensors, algorithms, mapping, and software − not the underpinnings of a vehicle that the traditional use of the term "platform" by automakers refers to. The system that Mobileye and Delphi are developing is intended to be capable of integration into a variety of vehicle types and architectures, with Delphi's long history as an automotive supplier likely to provide the project with insight into developing a system well-prepared for vehicle integration.

About this article

The above article is from IHS Automotive Same-Day Analysis of automotive news, events and trends, and is a deliverable of the World Markets Automotive Service. The service averages thirty stories per day and also provides competitor and country intelligence. Get a free trial.

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