Intel's $15.3 billion acquisition of Mobileye Monday is all about the vast array of big data that autonomous cars will provide, but it is data it says it's eager to share in the name of safety.
Kathy Winter, general manager of Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC)'s automated driving unit, tells Light Reading the Mobileye acquisition fills a big piece of what Intel needed in the automated driving space. The two will work together to create precision mapping, analytics and artificial intelligence to make autonomous vehicles safer and more responsive. Intel wants to be the central brain and processing power inside the car, powering the entire experience. (See Intel Buying Mobileye for $15 Billion.)
Who owns the data inside these connected, autonomous cars is a topic that's been hotly debated for awhile now -- is it the driver, the insurance provider, the car maker, the so-called car's "brain" or any number of third parties whose apps and services connect in? Winter says that regardless of the final answer, Intel is more concerned with who gets access to it. She wants that data to be licensable and shared, especially for use in increasing the safety of cars.
"Our perspective is safety is most important," Winter says. "Whatever data can be shared to accelerate learnings in connected cars is really important to do."
Intel, however, clearly would like to own that data as well. In announcing the acquisition, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said that he wants to make Intel the "driving force of the data revolution across every technology and every industry."
It's understandable why: Connected cars will produce huge amounts of data -- up to four terrabytes per day, including from their sensors, radars, vision systems, lidars and drivers themselves. And, McKinsey & Company says this car data could bring in $450 to $750 billion globally by 2030 for infotainment, city planning, shopping and more.
One such example is Road Experience Management, a commercial map application that Mobileye is working on to share data about a car's surroundings in order to update maps in real time. If your car passes a pothole, for example, it would share that information to the cloud so that other cars can avoid it. Mobileye already has deals in place to share this data with BMW and Volkswagon. Intel also recently took at 15% stake in HERE's mapping technology for more useful data as well. (See Intel to Buy a 15% Stake in HERE and BMW, Intel, Mobileye Team on Driverless Cars .)
Winter, who joined Intel in August from Delphi, where she was the first person to make a cross-country drive in an autonomous vehicle, admits that who owns cars' data is a topic that is still in the early days of being figured out. With insurance involved, the debate is over who owns the data, and how can they make money on it.
It's still early days for automated driving, so regulations are still being worked out and will vary by state. Consumer acceptance will be another big issue, of course, in terms of both assuring people of the safety of autonomous cars and not violating any privacy concerns around their data. Some uses of it will be opt-in, but much of it -- especially that related to safety -- will be assumed, Winter says.
"For vehicle data, when they talk about radar, lidar, performance and safety, that wouldn't be opt in," Winter says. "It's critical data form a safety perspective for all vehicles, not just your own. A lot of safety data won't be opt in."
— Sarah Thomas, , Director, Women in Comms