P3 to use Mobileye Drive for its robotaxis

Mobileye and the Croatia-based Project 3 Mobility (P3), announced a collaboration to explore a new mobility service, utilizing Mobileye’s scalable self-driving technology, Mobileye Drive. The first P3 service is aimed to be launched in Zagreb in 2026, with testing and validation of Mobileye’s AV solution on the streets of the Croatian capital targeted to start in 2024.

Project 3 Mobility is developing a fully autonomous electric vehicle for urban mobility ecosystem and the needed specialised infrastructure and mobility services. The vehicle is built on a completely new platform designed for fully autonomous driving. The project will create a new mobility service in the wider area of Zagreb based on the concept of “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS). Project 3 Mobility is about to establish a production facility in Croatia for the large-scale production of autonomous vehicles that will be deployed worldwide.

Mobileye technology will be integrated into the P3 vehicle, which will use the Mobileye Drive autonomous driving solution. Currently, Project 3 Mobility has a team of more than 240 people with experts from more than 20 different industries and nationalities in two offices – in Croatia and the UK. P3 has already signed agreements with 9 cities across the EU, UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council to provide its urban autonomous service.

Project 3 Mobility plans to invest at least EUR 350 million before going to market. In May 2023 it secured a 179,5 million euros grant from the European Commission, and in the beginning of February 2024 P3 had closed a 100 million euros Series A investment round. Among the current investors: Kia, SiteGround  and Rimac Group.

Jerusalem-based Mobileye has developed an autonomous driving and driver-assistance technologies. Today, more than 170 million vehicles worldwide have been built with Mobileye technology inside. Its 2023 annual revenue tota;;ed $2.08 billion- 11.24% growth year-over-year. The company’s Future business backlog continues to grow, with 2023 design wins projected to generate future revenue of $7.4 billion across 61 million units.

“LiDAR market will be a ‘Winner takes Most'”

Photo above: Omer Keilaf, Innoviz Co-Founder and CEO

The Tier-1 direct supplier of high-performance, automotive grade LiDAR sensors and perception software,  Innoviz Technologies, announced that its Revenues in Q3 2023 were $3.5 million, up 138% compared to revenues of $1.5 million in Q2 2023 and up 297% compared to revenues of $0.9 million in Q3 2022. The increase in revenues was driven by strong growth in InnovizTwo unit sales, which increased 102% sequentially.

Two major programs have moved to high gear during the quarter: BMW began shipping production units of its InnovizOne LiDAR sensor components to its first generation program. “We worked closely with the teams at Magna and BMW to complete testing and lock the final version of the software that will be installed on BMW 7 vehicles in the coming weeks,” said Omer Keilaf, Innoviz Co-Founder and CEO. “While the 7 Series was always planned to be our initial flagship launch for the InnovizOne, our technology was certified on several models and variants within the BMW Group, and our efforts are now shifting towards integration with additional models.”

Autonomous Shuttle with 6 LiDAR Sensors

The other development is a progress in a promising shuttle program with a leading automotive supplier, who had decided to change the platform from a four-LiDAR configuration to a six-LiDAR configuration. Keilaf: “We expect this program to be fully driverless (Level 4) electric vehicle capable of carrying over 20 passengers and the ability to operate 24 hours a day. The earliest applications are likely to be people movers in environments like airports, college campuses, private communities, and corporate campuses.

“This opens it up to urban centers and possibly even suburban environments where it could become a lower cost or much more flexible alternative to legacy public transportation models. In the initial stages, the shuttles can complement existing bus and train transportation systems, possibly linking different modes of transportation together or connecting otherwise uneconomical routes. Over time, it’s not hard to imagine the autonomous routes increasingly dislocating the legacy routes as adoption grows.”

They don’t know how much they don’t know

Keilf said that the BMW 7 program is a milestone for Innoviz and for the entire intustry as well: “It sends a strong signal to other OEMs that we can reach SOP (Start of Production) and hit our goals and milestones. It also differentiates us from our competition: There are a number of other LiDAR companies out there claiming to compete with us in automotive LiDAR space. But some don’t have even a single series production award yet. And some have awards but have yet to execute on SOP-related milestones. From our experience, those who haven’t executed on these milestones don’t even know how much they don’t know at this point.

“We already have BMW and Volkswagen Group as customers, and they collectively represent 15% of global automotive production. If we can secure just one or two more major OEMs as customer and we will have a substantial lead, since we believe the LiDAR market will ultimately be a ‘winner takes most’ industry. There are primarily two or three main platforms that everyone is using, either it’s NVIDIA or Mobileye or Qualcomm. We are very familiar with all of these platforms. Some of our work with these platform players is in order to learn about their hardware accelerators, so we can make use of them as best as possible.”

BMW-Mercedes Break up is bad news for Intel/Mobileye

Photo above: BMW impression of highway autonomous driving

Less than a year since the German Automotive giants BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz AG agreed to work together on a joint development program of next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems and automated driving, they decided to halt the cooperation and to take different paths. Last week they announced that they are putting their cooperation in automated driving “temporarily on hold”.

Intel/BMW vs Mercedes/NVIDIA

For Intel and Mobileye (owned by Intel) it was a great opportunity: They both have a long and deep cooperation with BMW Group in all aspects of Autonomous Driving, and the agreement could secure their dominant position in the German car industry. “We have systematically further developed our technology and scalable platform with partners like Intel, Mobileye, FCA and Ansys,” said Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW. “Our current technology, with extremely powerful sensors and computing power, puts us in an excellent position.”

But those hopes were short lived: “Digitalization is a major strategic pillar for Mercedes-Benz. To prepare for the future challenges of a rapidly changing environment, we are currently also sounding out other possibilities with partners outside the automotive sector,” said Markus Schäfer, Board Member of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz.

And it turned out that one of these “partners” is NVIDIA – a bitter competitor of Intel and Mobileye. On Tuesday, June 23, they announced a cooperation to create a revolutionary in-vehicle computing system and AI computing infrastructure. Starting in 2024, this will be rolled out across the fleet of next-generation Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

The new software-defined architecture will be built on the NVIDIA DRIVE platform and will be standard in Mercedes-Benz’s next-generation fleet. But there is a twist: NVIDIA and Mercedes-Benz will jointly develop the AI and automated vehicle applications for SAE level 2 and 3 – far below the ambitious goal of the original BMW/Mercedes coalition.