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Two top autonomous car tech companies join forces

Two major self-driving car technology players have pledged to speed up the process. Mobileye and Delphi Automotive announced a partnership to develop fully automated vehicle systems by 2019.

The two companies aren’t talking about what many describe as “driver-assisted technology.” Mobileye and Delphi specified that they are planning to have SAE Level 4 and 5 automated driving solutions ready for automakers to install in their vehicles.

Related: Updated – Is BMW teaming up with Intel, Mobileye to develop autonomous vehicles?

Level 4 autonomy means that even though a human driver is in the vehicle, for most driving modes the on-board system handles all driving, monitoring, and fallback safety tasks, even when the human is not capable. Level 5 doesn’t need a human in the vehicle at all for any driving modes.

Related: Delphi hopes to make self-driving taxis a reality in Singapore by 2022

The two companies are going to produce the “Central Sensing Localization and Planning” (CLSP) platform which will be the hardware, software, and system components, in other words, the whole deal for a complete automated driving solution.

The CLSP platform will draw from each company’s unique technologies. For Mobileye, known for its computer vision systems, mapping, localization, and machine learning focus, this means its EyeQ 4/5 System on a Chip (SoC) with sensor signal processing for real time mapping and vehicle localization.

Delphi’s automated driving software, sensors, and systems integration will bring automated driving algorithms with path and motion-planning, and integrated sensor controllers for a full suite of camera, radar, and Lidar.

The joint effort will also develop sensor fusion technology and driving behavior modeling with deep learning so the vehicles will know, learn, and be able to drive safely with other vehicles and with pedestrians in complex urban routes.

This is not the first autonomous driving venture for either company. Mobileye systems are part of Tesla’s current Autopilot version, although they will not be used in future versions. Mobileye is also working with BMW, Intel, and other automotive and tech companies.

Delphi, in addition to developing 48V mild hybrid systems, is also working on creating a fleet of self-driving taxis in Singapore. The two companies have a history of working together on vehicle safety systems dating back to 2002.

Neither Delphi nor Mobileye are in the car manufacturing business — their goal is to develop fully operational autonomous vehicle systems automakers can incorporate. Their new partnership intends to draw from the expertise of each and significantly speed up adoption.

Mobileye’s Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Professor Amnon Shashua said, “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.”

Delphi’s President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Clark added, “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. This is a win-win for both companies and our customers.”

The newly formed partnership plans to have a demo ready for both highway and urban driving by next January, to be shown at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and production-ready systems by 2019.