2021 Year in Review for Robocars


Here's my annual countdown of the biggest stories in self-driving for 2021. This year I have a summary of my text stories, and also made a video countdown because there's lots of nice background video to use.

You can read the text version on the Forbes site at:

Robocars 2021 year in review


I wonder if Tesla do find vision only, with strong input from the NHTSA, is not good enough. Maybe they will end up purchasing a LIDAR company to catch up and skip RADAR?

Tesla has charged hundreds of thousands of customer $10K to provide FSD. If they need a major hardware retrofit it's a loser. There is nowhere to easily put a LIDAR on Tesla cars with their glass roof, though there are some that go into the headlamps or in the rearview mirror but that makes it more difficult.

Fair call, although as I understand vision systems they can have a weakness in understanding the distance to stationary objects against the background. Even a basic forward looking LIDAR (or Radar) could give a last few seconds warning of a serious failure. I guess there are huge costs either in introducing it or not having it. Probably one for both Tesla the NHTSA to sort out.

No top-hats and skateboards for you.

Have you read David Twohig's opinion A Skateboard ain't a Platform.

The OEMs will defend their turf given the bruises from Tesla.

Most of his points are valid, though not all can't be solved. Certainly networking and power are done in more modern ways where they can be divided. But yes, the vehicle will need to be designed for strength as a whole, and the frame of the top hat won't just be quickly bolted on the base, I suspect the bases will be designed with a variety of structural bodies meant to be "on top of" (really structurally a part of) and the rest hung on that.

The skateboard companies want to be the big guys, who call the shots on their product and on what can be done with it. So you're not going to just buy it and screw something on top of it. If you're also big you can demand things you need in the skateboard, otherwise you take what you are given.

Or it might never work, as he says. That's the situation with Waymo and Geely. Waymo is doing overall high level design, Geely making the full structure of the vehicle, but leaving places on it for Waymo to bolt on sensors. I suspect Geely will run the wiring to Waymo's spec, or just leave conduits for them to do that. Waymo will want to do only what they feel they must do, which is sensors, networking, internal screen. They will be happy to leave the rest to Geely. Waymo is a big enough customer that many aspects of the vehicle will be Waymo's design though. And I suspect Waymo will own the VIN, not that it matters because nobody will ever buy the vehicle.

responses always appreciated.

The VIN implication is a good addition to the analysis. This is for liability reasons mostly?

A modern car is made by many different supplies. Big car OEMs may make almost none of their car, but they design it and sell it, using contract manufacturers. But they "own the vin" which makes them responsible for liabilities on it. Or sometimes they do the final assembly, or rarely they make everything important in it.

But in a vehicle that will never be sold, just used as a taxi, that does not matter as much.

The new website for the Yole Group, including Yole Intelligence and Yole SystemPlus goes live.

Yole Group - 18x as many L1-L2 Light Vehicles In Operation versus L4-L5 Light Vehicles by 2040.

See pdf -
Imaging for Automotive 2022
Technology and Marketing report

Especially slides 11 and 12 - nuances in slides, must extrapolate (expand slides for scaling)
NOTE: slides are cumulative but unit scaling different yet useful

Interesting trends or growth rate of all L2 types versus L3L4L5 for 20 years (extrapolate distribution levels, rate of change, absolute uptakes and comparative percentages over select time periods)

Average yearly uptake of various ADAS levels in absolute values, cumulative and comparative percentages over select time periods.

Attrition rate of non-ADAS (eg a minimum of 270 million non-ADAS light vehicles to be replaced by ADAS LVs between 2020 and 2030).

Eg With somewhat linear growth rates, average of 67 million L1-L2 ADAS LVs estimated to be manufactured from 2020-2027.

Eg. The delta of the estimated 4.7% VIO penetration rate for L4-L5 by 2040 (100 mil) with the 89% VIO penetration rate for L1-L2 by 2040 (1.8 bil) is the essence of the incrementalism versus moon-shot debate and what is the most accessible and quickest path to safety for all.

Where Are The Autonomous Cars?
on semiengineering dot com

Is TOPS estimate clickbait?

ZEEKR First Customer for Nvidia Drive Thor, With Initial Production Vehicles Planned for Early 2025.

Geely-owned automaker ZEEKR announced it will integrate DRIVE Thor on its centralized vehicle computer for its next-generation intelligent electric vehicles, starting production in early 2025.

Intel's loss of business for Zeekr's next gen AV had to be known in advance.

NVIDIA Unveils DRIVE Thor, includes automated and assisted driving, parking, driver and occupant monitoring, digital instrument cluster, in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) and rear-seat entertainment into a single architecture.

ZEEKR has already selected DRIVE Orin for its in-house advanced driver-assistance development. With the forward-compatible DRIVE platform, ZEEKR can seamlessly leverage its current development investments on DRIVE Orin to DRIVE Thor for its long-term production roadmap and beyond.

Nvidia is scrapping the Drive Atlan system on chip ahead of schedule for Thor,

Is the lack of self certification in Europe part of the impetus for Thor?

Thor also seems like an attempt by Nvidia to mitigate the lack of L2+ / Premium ADAS platform design wins of late.

Does the trend of in-house chip design and software IP by OEMs present a challenge to Nvidia silicon and/or platform adoption?

Is Nvidia attempting to thwart off Chinese acceleration in silicon design for premium ADAS or AVs (eg Baidu or Horizon)?.

Jim McGregor from IntelTechTour on Twitter

2 Mobileye EyeQ 5 AV demo rides - an 11-camera system in a Ford Focus and a radar/lidar/camera robotaxi. Both worked, but the Robotaxi was smoother with higher object recognition and tracking.

Reading the above comment, one assumes the Focus was SuperVision and not Drive.

Zeekr- Intel, then Waymo, now Nvidia - the Chinese manipulation never ceases

add PonyAI as company partners with Geely affiliates to build robotaxi fleet

Baidu & Geely invest EV joint venture Jidu Auto

The ebb and flow of winning next generation L4 design wins.

July 2022
"In the meantime, our business is thriving, we are growing on all fronts and the future was never brighter" CEO MBLY on IPO update

September 2022
Zeekr selects Nvidia for L4 for 2025 production.

Zeekr & MBLY only started L4 AV project exploratory 9mos ago 1/2022.

Will MBLY and Zeekr now even bring to market a consumer L4 car in 2024?

Reminiscent of NIO flip flop? BMW?

And to think Zeekr obtained a US$100 million investment from Intel Capital only a year ago (2021)

Geely musical IP: from Intel/MBLY, Baidu/Jidu, Waymo, PonyAI, Nvidia, ..

All eyes on Ford BlueCruise with MBLU SuperVision tech first.

"ZEEKR will .... as well as developing new lidar-based features with Mobileye."

The intentional wording in this statement is impossible to overlook.

The notion of the addition of Lidar in a L2 + Premium stack?

from September 2020
This long-term agreement will extend to enabling ADAS features on numerous models across multiple brands under the vast worldwide umbrella of Geely

www dot mobileye dot com/blog/our-new-deal-with-geely-is-a-game-changer-says-shashua/

from September 2022
Yesterday's Mobileye and Geely Holding Group are expanding their collaboration to bring Mobileye SuperVision to three additional Geely brands, with additional plans to bring the technology to other models in the future.

basically, SV technology has been approved for production in Zeekr 001 in a forthcoming OTA update and then rolls out further next year to other brands. Nothing about L4 despite the lidar reference.

today feels like Qualcomm is challenging Waymo through proxies.

Is a delineation between AVs and robotaxis becoming more pronounced?

major news by mobileye ceo at ces 2023

mbly new company hq opens and has autonomous elevators

ceo's new company mentee robotics demos robot cleaning mbly robotaxi

volocopter to use rem roadbook for eyes off/hands off flying

fisker partners with mbly $35,000 av

www dot sohu dot com/a/594636088_618347?

2 EVPs and 2 VPs in last 9 months no longer in role at Mobileye.

Erez Dagan, Executive Vice President, Product & Strategy

Elad Serfaty, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs & Data Products (now at Orcam)

Tal Babaioff, Vice President Mapping and Localization and Co-General Manager REM

Jack Weast, Vice President for Automated Vehicle Standards and former Intel Fellow

Is Nimrod Nehushtan, the new Senior VP, Strategy & Business Development at Mobileye the son of the President of Boeing Israel, Ido Nehushtan, who also was the former Commander of IAF?
One of the bio's for the former MG indicates the strong possibility.

Without viewing the IPO presentation slides from the roadshow (link posted on this thread) that describes the the various (and many new) solutions for the first time "in public", one could not understand the Mobileye conversations today. It is rather strange the information is not available on the company’s website.

First day, increase of $16.7 bil to $23.5 bil in valuation as of minutes ago. 40%

Jul 2 2022 -> Oct 1, 2022 (both S1)
266 mil to 270 mil in pipeline
37 mil to 54 mil in design wins
(Management conservative on 2023 and Toyota in re-adjustment most likely).

In first 9 months of 2022, rev of $1.304 billion, shipped 24 mil EyeQs.

Total revenue for 2022 of $1.8 bil is still possible, as is shipping 32 mil EyeQ chips

The two new L3 solutions for 2025 probably from OEM demand was not well known by the market.

Bloomberg Technology interview with Mobileye CEO today provided some insight.

Shahua said, "I assume there will be more liquidity in the future. If Intel wants to sell (Mobileye) that's its business but it's a long process. For us an opportunity has now been created to be in the public eye and to build value and we already began to build value at the opening of trade today. There is very strong interest from investors, and we met hundreds of investors and they all told us how much this is a special company and there are not more companies like this."

In September 2022, Zeekr selects Nvidia for a Level 4 AV production project for a 2025 release, only 8 months after the Zeekr and Mobileye Level 4 AV collaboration announcement for a 2024 release was announced.

Will Zeekr and Mobileye now even bring to market a consumer Level 4 car in 2024?

new SuperVision + front Lidar = L3

L3 Traffic Jam Pilot (1 EyeQ6H)

L3 Highway Assist (2 EyeQ6H)

SV Lite 61, SV62, Chauffeur 63, Chauffeur Ultra all are projected to hit market in 2025

SV52 shown but not Chauffeur 56.

Zeekr 001 L4 was stated Chauffeur 56

In addition to Vinfast signing the Chauffeur 56 stack (GEN 1.0) licensing arrangement for a 2024 rollout, the IPO presentation has updated and "accelerated" the Chauffeur Ultra release (GEN 2.0) to 2025 (IPO slide) from 2026 (Investor Day slide).

The Vinfast 2024 SoP implies Gen1 Chauffeur AV design win since Gen2 (Chauffeur 63 or Chauffeur Ultra) arrives in 2025.

The IPO presentation has no new updates of the L4 project SoP with Zeeker (GEN1 Chauffeur 56), originally indicated as "early" 2024 (Intel Investor Day slide).

Engineering Samples for EyeQ6H were slated for Q4 2022 which parallels the two advanced contract negotiations for Supervision (and AV) with major western OEMs (volume production in 2024).

The Supervision SV62 hardware and software feature set as compared to the SV61 (SV Lite) feature set (inc ODD) is notably differentiated and so which OEM will license SV Lite first will be interesting.

The pipeline grew 4 million units to 270 million since the last update (S1 reg) versus 37 million design wins in the first half of 2022. EyeQ sales now total at 125 million units versus the 100 million units announced Dec 12, 2021, the 117 mil by Jul 2, 2022, and the 125 million by Oct 14, 2022 (25 million units in 10 months). The 2022 preliminary Q3 revenue is $450 million per the slides. In 2021, Mobileye shipped approximately 28.1 million chips with revenue of $1.363 billion. Mobileye revenue as of the end of the first 3 quarters of 2022 is approximately $1.304 billion. Expectations for the fourth quarter have declined slightly.

2025 - all targeted for the same year
Supervision Lite SV61
Supervision SV62
Chauffeur 63
Chauffeur Ultra

Twitter Oct 17

Will CV alone be able to achieve L4/L5, ever? Or will the "superhuman capabilities (lidar/radar)" be necessary to gain regulatory/public acceptance?

Reply by Shai Shalev-Shwartz:

Hard to know for sure, but I believe that CV will eventually reach human-level (at least for driving purposes). Nevertheless, public acceptance may require additional sensors. I'm betting on a single front Lidar + surround imaging radars

There is new Supervision Lite info in an IPO roadshow slide.

Supervision Lite 2025 could easily be based on the new Mobileye imaging radar since availability of this new L2+ solution is not available until 2025.

Imaging Radar is not part of Supervision Lite as Chauffeur Ultra specifically identifies type of radar as IM.

- commonplace on the streets by the middle of the decade -

Intel Corp's  Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger on Monday said the initial public offering of its self-driving tech company Mobileye was not a capital raise, but more of an entry into the market.

"It is a move to potentially move them into the market. It's not a capital raise," said Gelsinger at the WSJ Tech Live conference when asked about why Intel was moving ahead with an IPO during such tough market environments and whether Intel needed that cash.

"The autonomous vehicle segment is a strong segment for growth. It's a tough market. At the same time, we're believing this company should be public and this is the best way to maximize the company's potential," Gelsinger said.

He also said he believes self-driving cars could become commonplace on the streets by the middle of the decade.

Mobileye Global set to price shares at top end or above range, WSJ reports

a former Automotive News Europe reporter of 7 years, now writing in Fortune, wrote this today:

"Importantly, the Israeli startup has long designed its own proprietary silicon based on a RISC-V architecture rather..."

You have to chuckle.

Intel's advisers are telling prospective investors that shares of Mobileye Global will likely price at the top end or above the targeted range in the upcoming trading debut of the self-driving-car business, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mobileye, which was originally expected to land a valuation of more than $50 billion, is now looking at one of roughly $16 billion or more if it prices the shares at $20, the top of its range. That’s slightly more than the roughly $15.3 billion Intel paid for the business in 2017.

Mobileye’s IPO comes at a time when few companies are daring to sell shares in the public market. In order to get the deal done, Intel adjusted its offering, selling fewer shares than planned—representing only about 5% to 6% of those that will be outstanding after the offering. It also lined up what are known as cornerstone buyers for roughly 40% of the deal if it prices at the high end of the range.

The roadshow pitch to investors started last week, and books are set to close for orders later Monday. So far, the pushback hasn't been so much about valuation, but rather how few shares are being sold, according to people familiar with the offering. The small offering—41 million shares, which includes the stock going to the cornerstone investors—means it may be tough for big funds to build up a meaningful position. Some other prospective buyers say they are worried about how a company with a low float, or number of shares publicly traded, can be subject to big stock swings, one of the people said.

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