Intel lays off dozens from autonomous vehicle program, acquires LiDAR startup

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In a claimed effort to streamline operations, Intel recently shaved "several dozen" people from its roster of employees working on autonomous vehicles at the company's Silicon Valley Innovation Center in Palo Alto.

Mobileye
Source: Reuters


Intel confirmed the layoffs to The Information, characterizing the strategy as a "realignment of resources" designed to bolster its autonomous vehicle operation in Israel.

"Changes in our workforce are driven by the needs and priorities of our business, which we continually evaluate," an Intel spokesperson told the publication. "We are committed to treating all impacted employees with professionalism and respect."

Intel is encouraging those who were laid off to find other positions within the company. The report failed to detail what positions were trimmed, though some workers might land at other firms conducting research in the area of self-driving cars. Along with the usual assortment of automotive industry stalwarts like General Motors, tech titans like Google are investing heavily in autonomous platforms.

It appears that Intel is consolidating efforts in the sector around Mobileye, an Israel-based autonomous vehicle solutions company the chip maker purchased in 2017 for $15.3 billion. Mobileye was estimated to have around 600 employees at the time it was acquired, a figure that has since more than doubled, the report said.

Intel, through Mobileye, continues to invest in the space. According to Wednesday's report, the Israeli company late last year acquired Eonite Perception, a Palo Alto startup that develops software for LiDAR-based 3D mapping and tracking. The purchase will allow Intel to move from optical systems (cameras) to the more accurate LiDAR technology in use by some industry competitors.

Apple, for example, is researching LiDAR solutions for 3D object recognition and autonomous vehicle navigation. A report last week claimed the Cupertino tech giant is in discussions with at least four manufacturers of LiDAR hardware that could see integration in a next-generation version of its self driving car test bed.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 1,142member
    Elon Musk is backing the wrong horse. LIDAR is the future. 
  • Reply 2 of 12
    digitoldigitol Posts: 107member
    Lidar is the wrong way to go. High cost, slow, high energy. Not a great application for automotive. Betting against Elon Musk is a bad idea. Landing a rocket is more of a better use for lidar. (Space X). This is not speculative. It's fact. Unless something changes, and someone comes up with a different implementation and much more effecient use of LIDAR between now and then. Highly unlikely. I work with all these systems, daily. Besides Apple is more a Toy company these days. They seldom done well in enterprise, because they have half baked solutions, poor security, non-flexible systems, (does not work well with others). Contrary to what some of Apple's strongest marketing has fed to us for years.
    edited April 25 ronfellow
  • Reply 3 of 12
    LatkoLatko Posts: 398member
    digitol said:
    Lidar is the wrong way to go. High cost, slow, high energy. Not a great application for automotive. Betting against Elon Musk is a bad idea. Landing a rocket is more of a better use for lidar. (Space X). This is not speculative. It's fact. Unless something changes, and someone comes up with a different implementation and much more effecient use of LIDAR between now and then. Highly unlikely. I work with all these systems, daily. Besides Apple is more a Toy company these days. They seldom done well in enterprise, because they have half baked solutions, poor security, non-flexible systems, (does not work well with others). Contrary to what some of Apple's strongest marketing has fed to us for years.
    Agree. Both Apple and Intel are self-proclaimed car-tech providers that no carmaker wants or needs to partner with for various reasons. By now, most carmakers have leaner and more practical techniques than Lidar. Which doesn’t mean Lidar is bad - it just got overtaken by other solutions in the car space
    edited April 25
  • Reply 4 of 12
    digitol said:
    Lidar is the wrong way to go. High cost, slow, high energy. Not a great application for automotive. Betting against Elon Musk is a bad idea. Landing a rocket is more of a better use for lidar. (Space X). This is not speculative. It's fact. Unless something changes, and someone comes up with a different implementation and much more effecient use of LIDAR between now and then. Highly unlikely. I work with all these systems, daily. Besides Apple is more a Toy company these days. They seldom done well in enterprise, because they have half baked solutions, poor security, non-flexible systems, (does not work well with others). Contrary to what some of Apple's strongest marketing has fed to us for years.
    The usual cost argument in favour of lidar is that the first autonomous vehicles will be geo-fenced, ride sharing cars owned by the manufacturers or partners. If a car is operating 24x7 and earning revenue, then the cost of lidar isn't as much of a concern than for a private vehicle. Then as the tech ramps up, costs come down.

    As you say, if Musk thinks it's unnecessary, there must be something to it. Then again, he also thinks non-geo-fenced AVs are just around the corner and within a year that driver input would be more dangerous than leaving the car to do its thing. I hope he's not being too irresponsible.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 892member
    Maybe I’m in the minority, but I love being behind the wheel. 
  • Reply 6 of 12
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,599member
    This is just another Intel Hobby until the realize they will not be able to leverage the X86 processor technology and they will shut it all down and let everyone go.
    ronfellow
  • Reply 7 of 12
    ronfellowronfellow Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Lidar is dead. Tesla has developed a system, probably the best in the industry, without it. Even Anthony Levandowski, the Lidar guru at Google when the program was started, just said in an interview that was a wrong decidion and Elon is right about Lidar is a crutch. Intel and Mobileye are the blind who leads the blind in this field.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    Elon Musk is backing the wrong horse. LIDAR is the future. 
    Wrong. Watch the TESLA Autonomy Day Event:  They explain LIDAR's limitations in relation to autonomous driving systems.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 9 of 12
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,525member
    Musk is not the only one skeptical about LiDAR being required for autonomous vehicles.
    https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-elon-musk-full-self-driving-lidar-waymo-cornell-study/
  • Reply 10 of 12
    maestro64 said:
    This is just another Intel Hobby until the realize they will not be able to leverage the X86 processor technology and they will shut it all down and let everyone go.
    Doubt this applies here as Mobileye is a separate company with amazing growth and a monopoly in camera ADAS. It would take Mobileye to mess up big time to have Intel step up and make changes, hard to imagine in next years. I think that all the Intel bloodsuckers that jump the hype train will be kicked of gradually by Mobileye as we see in the article.
  • Reply 10 of 12
    Latko said:
    digitol said:
    Lidar is the wrong way to go. High cost, slow, high energy. Not a great application for automotive. Betting against Elon Musk is a bad idea. Landing a rocket is more of a better use for lidar. (Space X). This is not speculative. It's fact. Unless something changes, and someone comes up with a different implementation and much more effecient use of LIDAR between now and then. Highly unlikely. I work with all these systems, daily. Besides Apple is more a Toy company these days. They seldom done well in enterprise, because they have half baked solutions, poor security, non-flexible systems, (does not work well with others). Contrary to what some of Apple's strongest marketing has fed to us for years.
    Agree. Both Apple and Intel are self-proclaimed car-tech providers that no carmaker wants or needs to partner with for various reasons. By now, most carmakers have leaner and more practical techniques than Lidar. Which doesn’t mean Lidar is bad - it just got overtaken by other solutions in the car space
    Just that Intel/Mobileye has a non self proclaimed monopoly over the camera space in automotive. Ideally you would read something about this space before dumping your idiotic thoughts around.
  • Reply 10 of 12
    digitol said:
    Lidar is the wrong way to go. High cost, slow, high energy. Not a great application for automotive. Betting against Elon Musk is a bad idea. Landing a rocket is more of a better use for lidar. (Space X). This is not speculative. It's fact. Unless something changes, and someone comes up with a different implementation and much more effecient use of LIDAR between now and then. Highly unlikely. I work with all these systems, daily. Besides Apple is more a Toy company these days. They seldom done well in enterprise, because they have half baked solutions, poor security, non-flexible systems, (does not work well with others). Contrary to what some of Apple's strongest marketing has fed to us for years.
    When you say high cost what do you mean ? There are lidars under 100$ nowadays, comparable to radar and cameras. In the next 2-3 years we will see lidar that is today considered high end at 200$. The cost debate is bs anyhow, we need the redundancy and complementary behavior of 3 sensors at least and people should argue for safety not cost. Telling not to use lidar because of cost is saying our customers are not worth it for us.. That is also ok for some brands , but they do not charge you a premium or claim leadership in anything.  
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