Tesla Motors Inc will likely work on its own image-recognition technology as it has parted ways with Mobileye after the fatal accident – involving its semi-autonomous tech – sparked enquiries from federal agencies. Mobileye is the startup that supplies chips, which allows Tesla cars to recognize images and work with Tesla’s Autopilot system.
Tesla, Mobileye part ways
During a call discussing the Q2 results, Mobileye CTO – Ammon Sashua – made the announcement of the end of its alliance with Tesla. In a statement, the firm said “We continue to support and maintain the current Tesla Autopilot product plans. This includes a significant upgrade of several functions that affect both the ability to respond to crash avoidance and to optimize auto-steering in the near term, without any hardware updates.”
Further, the statement says that moving towards more advanced autonomy is a paradigm shift in their view, both in need to ensure an extremely high-level of safety and in terms of function complexity. Further, the firm said there is much at stake for the reputation of Mobileye and to the industry at large. And, achieving the objective requires partnerships that go beyond the typical OEM / supplier relationship, like their recent collaboration with Intel and BMW.
Why ended the alliance?
When the CTO was asked why the two parted ways, Sashua directed to companies’ respective responses to the fatal crash. Mobileye’s tech is only capable of assisting in avoiding accidents with cars in front of it, and not trucks that cross the highway laterally, like the case was with the crash. “This incident involved a laterally crossing vehicle, which current-generation AEB systems are not designed to actuate upon,” the firm noted.
As per Tesla Motors Inc electric car maker, the autopilot system, which combines third-party technology and proprietary, is supposed to be able to recognize any interruption of the ground plane in the path of the car, but the high, white side of the box truck, combined with a radar signature, which would have looked very similar to an overhead sign, caused automatic braking not to fire.
Mobileye – no fit for Tesla
It is not certain which party ended the relationship, but as per Comma.ai CEO George Hotz, “Without a doubt it’s Tesla who parted ways.” Comma.ai is actually the firm that was challenged by Tesla CEO Elon Musk to build better software than Mobileye. Hotz previously said that Mobileye is not innovative enough for Tesla Motors Inc .
Mobileye system is so easy to reproduce that any company does not need the best talent, Hotz said adding he did it in a couple of months. “Our software can already do more than Mobileye’s,” said Hotz.
At 10.00 am EDT, Tesla shares were up 1.29% at $232 . Year to date, the stock is down over 2% while in the last one-ear, it is down over 8%.