Zero Accidents with AVs Isn't Realistic, Mobileye Chairman Says

The chairman says that instead of total eradication of traffic-related fatalities, a drastic decline is all that should be expected.

by Globes, Tel Aviv, Israel / May 5, 2017

(TNS) -- Israeli collision avoidance sensor developer Mobileye (NYSE: MBLY) founder and chairman Prof. Amnon Shahua has told "Reuters" that people should not expect autonomous cars to completely eliminate accidents and fatalities. He said, "If the expectation is for zero accidents that isn't realistic."

"Reuters" added that Shashua believes society would accept fatalities that are 2-3 orders of magnitude smaller than with people-driven cars, meaning a decline to as few as 35 fatalities annually in the US from around 35,000 today.

Once autonomous driving cars are ready, there will be a period of several years where drivers will still be needed for monitoring purposes, Shashua added.

In March, Intel Corp. announced that it is acquiring Mobileye for $15.3 billion and that Shashua would head its newly formed global autonomous driving organization based in Jerusalem.

Shashua told "Reuters" that fully automated cars are not expected until at least 2021 but he sees income being generated in the immediate future from semi-autonomous driving features, which will nevertheless require drivers to remain alert. "We can enable hands-free driving to levels that are much higher than with any sensor," he said.

Current systems will be enhanced by Mobileye's mapping technology. The Israeli company's "Roadbook" high-definition maps will be built into cars and will crowdsource data, presumably like Waze, in order to provide real-time traffic updates.

Mobileye has already agreed mapping technology deals with Nissan, Volkswagen and BMW and Shashua told "Reuters" that four more manufacturers were in talks about joining the program.

"We hope to have the majority of these four signed by the end of 2017," he said. "Only car manufacturers can contribute ... because they have the cars. This is something that truly separates the car industry from the tech players."

Shashua expects "meaningful" revenue from "Roadbook" although he declined to speculate on numbers.

©2017 the Globes (Tel Aviv, Israel) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.