Intel Bulking Up Safety and Security of Self-Driving Car Efforts

Intel is bolstering its push into the Internet of things with the acquisition of Yogitech, an Italian semiconductor designer specializing in adding safety functions to chips used in robots, self-driving cars and other autonomous devices.

The small company already works with many of Intel’s chip competitors, including Texas Instruments, ARM, Toshiba, Fujitsu, and ST Microelectronics.

Intel (INTC) plans to put Yogitech’s technology to work in its chips for advanced driver assistance systems, robotics, and autonomous machines in market segments “that require functional safety and high performance,” Ken Caviasca, vice president of platform engineering and development in Intel’s $2 billion IoT group, wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition.

“The industry is now moving from automating data to inform better decisions, to automating actions informed by real-time data,” Caviasca wrote. “You can see this evolution in the autonomous vehicle prototypes that nearly all have Intel inside. Functional safety is a requirement for these and other IoT customers.”

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Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Separately, Intel’s Wind River unit, which focuses on IoT software, said it also made an acquisition related to self-driving cars. It bought Arynga, which makes software allowing cars to receive over-the-air updates. Terms of the deal also weren’t disclosed.

Over-the-air updates are crucial when bugs are discovered, especially critical security bugs. When hackers cracked the software in a Jeep Cherokee last summer, the car maker ultimately had to issue a recall of 1.4 million vehicles to update their software one by one at dealer service locations. But when hackers showed off a similar Tesla feat last year, the electric carmaker solved the problem quickly by fixing software automatically for every Tesla on the road via an over-the-air update.

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