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Mobileye, the autonomous vehicle company owned by Intel, and Geely, China’s largest automaker, are joining forces to develop a consumer-ready autonomous vehicle that they claim will be ready by 2024.
The self-driving car, which will also be battery-electric, will be produced under Geely’s Zeekr brand, which was unveiled last year as the automaker’s “new electric mobility technology and solutions company.”
The new car will be equipped with Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities, meaning it will handle 100 percent of the driving tasks under certain conditions, like favorable weather or within certain geographic limits.
The vehicle will operate with a number of Mobileye’s branded AV systems, including six of the company’s EyeQ5 System-on-a-chips and its Road Experience Management, or REM, which uses real-time data from Mobileye-equipped vehicles to build out a global 3D map.
The vehicle will be built on Geely’s open-source Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA), which includes redundant systems for braking, steering, and power. Mobileye, which is based in Israel, also plans on growing its presence in China by hiring more employees and building a data center.
To date, there are no self-driving cars for sale to consumers as personally owned vehicles. Most AV companies are choosing to deploy their vehicles as part of fleets of autonomous taxis as a way to defray the enormous hardware and software costs associated with highly automated driving. Other companies, like Tesla, claim their vehicles are “self-driving,” but in reality, they are only equipped with Level 2 advanced driver assist systems.
Most experts assume that autonomous vehicles will eventually be sold to consumers but at a much later date, when the manufacturing costs have declined and the margins are more favorable to a company’s bottom line.
But Mobileye and Geely believe that date is coming sooner than most people anticipate. The companies claim their vehicle will go on sale in China in 2024, making it the world’s first Level 4-capable vehicle available to consumers. They also hope to introduce it to other global markets.
Mobileye isn’t the only AV company to team up with Geely, which also owns Volvo and the new electric subbrand, Polestar. Last week, Alphabet’s Waymo said it would work with the Chinese auto giant on a fleet of electric robotaxis.
Waymo has also partnered with Stellantis and Jaguar Land Rover to deploy and develop its autonomous capabilities, while Geely plans to take Volvo public as an all-electric company, after doing the same with its new Polestar brand.