Intel Is Making a Major Investment in Autonomous Vehicles

November 15, 2016, 8:30 PM UTC
Inside Automobility LA Ahead Of The Los Angeles Auto Show
Brian Krzanich, chief executive officer of Intel Corp., speaks during Automobility LA ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Tuesday, November 15, 2016. Krzanich announced that Intel Capital is targeting more than $250 million of additional new investments over the next two years to make fully autonomous driving a reality. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images

Chipmaker Intel’s venture capital arm will invest $250 million over the next two years into autonomous vehicle technology.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich made the announcement while on stage at AutoMobility LA, the press and trade show event ahead of the 10-day public LA Auto Show. Krzanich, who called data “the new oil” said the investments will focus on connecting devices—aka the Internet of Things—in the transportation sector and handle the deluge of data generated by these devices.

Intel Capital will focus on areas where technology can directly mitigate risks while improving safety, mobility, and efficiency at a reduced cost.

Vehicles that can perceive the world around it, and respond more quickly than a human can, require a variety of sensors, cameras, radar, and of course, software. That’s a lot of data to process—and far more than the seemingly large amounts of generated today.

The average person generates 650MB of data a day in 2016 through use of their PCs, mobile phones and wearables, according to Intel. By 2020, projections show that the average person will generate 1.5GB of data a day.

Autonomous cars will generate far more, about 4,000 gigabytes of data a day. That means every autonomous car will generate data equivalent of almost 3,000 people, Intel says.

The announcement follows Intel’s partnership with German automaker BMW and Mobileye to produce self-driving cars for city streets by 2021. The companies says they plan to develop the technology as an open platform that can be used other automakers or ride-sharing companies.

At the time, the companies didn’t provide many details or say how much each company was spending on the project. Krzanich had said his company was dedicating hundreds of people and several hundred million U.S. dollars towards the project.