While most of the major automakers are pushing hard for automated systems over the next few years, most of them are focused on stop-gap technologies like lane assist, automated braking, traffic jam hands free driving and similar. This is giving Google a whopping head start in the game and if legislation allows it to, it could truly dominate the industry in just a few years time, turning the current car business on its head in all number of ways. However, Google isn’t entirely alone in its developments. One Israeli company, Mobileye, is also developing collision avoidance systems and automated vehicle technologies, and could give Google a run for its money – if it isn’t bought out by the search giant.
This is the idea being put forward by Fool, which suggests that the two companies could be a match made in heaven. However for the average consumer like you and me, it seems like instead of one dominant company, it would be far better if Mobileye used its technology to counter Google’s own, as competition is almost always better for the customer in the long run. It drives down prices, increases innovation and gives us more choice.
But why is Mobileye such a good match for Google, whether they end up in bed together or at loggerheads over who rules the automated vehicle roost? Because its avoidance cameras and software are some of the best in the world. Its newest system combines its tried and tested driver assist system, that can spot potential hazards and set off an alarm to get you to brake, or do it automatically if needed, with a new detection algorithm that can pick up pedestrians, debris, barriers, or cyclists, giving a warning and potentially appropriate response.
It can even detect traffic lights and road signs to give it an idea of how the car should be behaving on that particular bit of road, all thanks to the magic of radar and forward facing cameras.
While this still isn’t as independent as Google’s system, what gives Mobileye a big leg up, is that over 90 per cent of automakers have already pledged to add the technology to their vehicles over the next few years. That’s huge as Google could be forced to develop its tech by its lonesome if the industry shuns its forward thinking ways. Of course that could lead to Google going it alone and becoming a giant vehicular entitity in its own right, but Mobileye could be there right alongside it.
Mobilieye also has a cost advantage. Its technology, while again, not as advanced in automation, is only about $1,000 per vehicle. Google’s specially built cars cost upwards of $150,000 a piece. Despite this relatively cheap product however, the Israeli company is already worth almost $7 billion and is growing fast. If Google is going to buy out its potentially most dangerous competitor, it will need to do it soon, or before long even its ridiculously deep pockets could balk at the prospect of buying such a company.
Either way, both names are likely to feature prominently in the next few years when it comes to automobile automation. It’s going to be exciting, but I wonder how it will go. What do you guys think?