The Israel-based Mobileye produces EyeQ autopilot chips for most of the self-driving cars on the roads, but Tesla Motors no longer seeks cooperation. It is unclear whether the car maker would manufacture its own chips or turn to another maker.
The news comes as a surprise as Mobileye is one of the best in its field. In January, it detailed how deep neural functions helps automated cars’ Autopilot function achieve enhanced accuracy.
But on Tuesday, the company’s CTO Amnon Shashua told investors during a conference call that the two companies would end business collaboration.
Recently, the company confirmed the news and added that Tesla is no longer interested in other chip versions beyond EQ3, which currently powers the Autopilot function in Model X and Model S. The firm said that it would not end support for current models and will keep providing assistance and patches to ensure vehicles’ safety.
Mobileye wrote in a statement that advanced autonomy needs much profound partnerships than the OEM-supplier ones in order to make systems extremely safe. The firm mentioned its recent partnerships with BMW and Intel as examples of what future business relationships should look like.
The split was mostly caused by the recent car crash in Florida, three months ago. In May, a Tesla Model S electric vehicle failed to detect a trailer crossing in front of the car and it fatally crashed killing the driver.
George Hotz from the Mobileye rival firm comma.ai commented that the Israeli company is innovation-averse. Hotz’s company is currently working on an Autopilot that is expected to hit the market later this year. Hotz is also known for turning down a well-paid position at Tesla in order to bring Mobileye down. At that time, Tesla even defended the firm.
Hotz acknowledged that he doesn’t know who broke the relationship, but he believes that Mobileye lobbies state regulators to reduce safety ratings of driverless vehicles that are not equipped with their autonomous driving kit.
Hotz added that he doesn’t blame the chip-maker for the situation, but he puts the entire blame on car makers that buy its products and which also lack innovation since they rely on customers’ preferences for a specific car brand.
Mobileye’s partnership with Intel and BMW is expected to lead to a fully driverless vehicle in five years’ time.
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