Intel is buying startups to prepare for autonomous driving

Intel is a company most people associate with PC processors but recently they’ve become increasingly present in the world of smart and connected adviecs: the Internet of Things (IoT). Intel software and hardware is allowing companies and DIY makers to more easily create devices that interact with the real world and connect to online services. Intel isn’t resting on its laurels and has acquired a computer vision startup to push their IoT expertise further.

The announcement gets straight to the point: “Intel is transforming from a PC company to a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices.” Intel cites Morgan Stanley, pointing out that Americans spend 75 billion hours a year driving. The move to autonomous driving could provide $507 in annual productivity gains.

Intel is already well positioned for autonomous driving with its IoT experience. After all, a car is just another connected thing and they’re already working on tech that lets cars and software interact wirelessly. Their latest aquisition, Itseez Inc., provides expertise in computer vision that Intel intends to use for self-driving vehicles that can see the world around them.

Computer vision involves recognising objects in the real world, allowing software to respond to them correctly. For autonomous vehicles this means watching for pedestrians, other cars, and reading road signs (something Ford’s cars can already do). Intel sees this as a valuable acquisition for their IoT goals moving forward.

Intel predicts there will be 3 stages to the evolution of the IoT. First, our tech becomes smart and connected (we”ve already begun this stage). Next, even the traditionally unconnected objects become smart. Finally, all of these objects are able to analyse their environment and make decisions for themselves. Ultimately this is the road to robots and self-driving cars.

With tech that can see the world, connect to everything else, and make decisions autonomously, Intel are settings themselves up nicely for a robotic future.

Main image: Intel