(TNS) -- Intel, fervently seeking new markets for its computer chips, confirmed Friday that it will work with BMW and an Israeli company called Mobileye to develop technology for self-driving cars.
Google has been the public face of the tech industry's push to take the driver out from behind the wheel, testing small, self-driving cars on California streets and highways. Many other companies, including Apple, appear to have their own initiatives under way.
Tesla offers an "Autopilot" feature that keeps cars in a highway lane while in cruise control, but the technology is under scrutiny after a May wreck killed an Ohio man while he was driving his Tesla in Autopilot mode.
Advocates hope self-driving vehicles – what the industry calls "autonomous driving" – would actually be safer than cars driven by people because they take human error and impairment out of the equation.
Intel has been working for years to develop automotive technology, working with Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and others, but thus far that market represents a tiny fraction of Intel's business.
Intel said Friday it hopes its latest initiative will put self-driving cars on streets by 2021.
"The future of highly autonomous driving is promising, but there are significant challenges to solve worldwide," Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich said in a written statement. "For example, how can you teach an autonomous car to react to unpredictable human drivers who might be drunk, texting or speeding?"
Intel said it hopes its computing power will provide cars with the intelligence to overcome those barriers. With BMW and Mobileye – which makes cameras and software for self-driving cars – Intel said it hopes to create standards for the emerging market.
The PC industry accounts for roughly 60 percent of Intel's revenue, but the chipmaker acknowledged last spring that market is in long-term decline. So Intel is reorganizing to develop other technologies, like self-driving cars, in hopes of creating new markets for its chips.
©2016 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.