Intel announces specialized AI chips for cars
US chipmaker Intel is getting ready to roll out an AI-focused chip for the automotive sector, the company announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
As Intel describes it, the new technology will be “the first-generation AI-enhanced software-defined vehicle system-on-chip (SoC),” designed to power generative AI features in vehicles. According to Jack Weast, vice president and general manager of Intel Automotive, the SoCs will help enhance driving experiences through AI-powered navigation, voice assistants, vehicle controls and other functionality, such as video conferencing and video games.
“Intel is taking a ‘whole vehicle’ approach to solving the industry’s biggest challenges… Driving innovative AI solutions across the vehicle platform will help the industry navigate the transformation to EVs,” Weast said in a statement.
The SoCs will also allow passengers and drivers to be monitored for unsafe behavior, the company said, such as making sure kids are buckled in the back seat. Vehicles outfitted with the chips will get new features via over-the-air software updates, much like smartphones, instead of through the addition of new parts.
Intel also announced its first buyer for the new chips, Chinese auto maker Zeekr, an EV subbrand of Geely, which says it will use the SoCs for an “enhanced living room experience in vehicles.” The first Zeekr vehicle featuring Intel’s AI chips is expected to appear on roads later this year. Intel also said it was in negotiations with a number of other carmakers, but didn’t list any names beyond Zeekr.
Intel is one of several companies that made AI-related automotive announcements at the show in Las Vegas. Another chipmaker, Qualcomm, announced on Tuesday a partnership with German auto parts maker Bosch to introduce what it called “the automotive industry’s first central vehicle computer capable of running infotainment and advanced driver assistance system functionalities on a single system-on-chip.”
On Monday, software company Cerence announced a partnership with German automaker Volkswagen to develop a new AI-powered in-vehicle voice assistant based on ChatGPT technology, dubbed “Cerence Chat Pro.”
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