Americans spend some 75 billion hours a year driving. Morgan Stanley estimates that self-driving vehicles could deliver $507 billion in annual productivity gains – to cite just one compelling benefit. While the possibilities are exciting, the reality requires solving a myriad of technology challenges. Solutions will need to seamlessly deliver a combination of compute, connectivity, security, machine learning, human machine interfaces and functional safety.
To win in automotive today and help deliver its exciting future, Intel is adding new capabilities to our automotive portfolio like functional safety and over-the-air software management. Another key requirement for self-driving cars is the ability to see and accurately interpret surroundings. One of the technologies necessary to support this capability is computer vision.
Computer vision includes methods for acquiring, processing, analyzing and understanding images from the real world in order to make informed decisions and automate actions. Computer Vision technology is quickly becoming critical for the future of smart and connected “things” from autonomous vehicles, security systems, medical imaging and more.
That’s why, on May 25, Intel signed a definitive agreement to acquire Itseez Inc., an expert in Computer Vision (CV) algorithms and implementations for embedded and specialized hardware. Itseez contributes software tuning and integration in many market-leading products shipping today from cars to security systems and more. This acquisition furthers Intel’s efforts to win in IoT market segments like automotive and video, where the ability to electronically perceive and understand images paves the way for innovation and opportunity.
Itseez will become a key ingredient for Intel’s Internet of Things Group (IOTG) roadmap, and will help Intel’s customers create innovative deep-learning-based CV applications like autonomous driving, digital security and surveillance, and industrial inspection. Itseez is also a key contributor to computer vision standards initiatives including OpenCV and OpenVX. Together, we’ll step up our contribution to these standards bodies – defining a technology bridge that helps the industry move more quickly to OpenVX-based products.
As the Internet of Things evolves, we see three distinct phases emerging. The first is to make everyday objects smart – this is well underway with everything from smart toothbrushes to smart car seats now available. The second is to connect the unconnected, with new devices connecting to the cloud and enabling new revenue, services and savings. New devices like cars and watches are being designed with connectivity and intelligence built into the device. The third is just emerging when devices will require constant connectivity and will need the intelligence to make real-time decisions based on their surroundings. This is the “autonomous era,” and machine learning and computer vision will become critical for all kinds of machines – cars among them.
Intel is focused on delivering end-to-end IoT solutions addressing devices, wired and wireless networks and the cloud. The IoT future we’re building for our customers is exciting, and the talented team at Itseez will help us get there, faster.
Doug Davis is senior vice president and general manager of the Internet of Things (IoT) Group at Intel Corporation.