Intel VP Says Mobileye Would Have Detected Victim In Uber Accident

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Intel's Mobileye vision software for vehicles would have detected the victim who was killed in last week's self-driving Uber accident, a company executive said.

Amnon Shashua, CEO and CTO of Intel subsidiary Mobileye, wrote in a Monday blog post on Intel's website that his company's computer vision software was able to detect Elaine Herzberg roughly one second before she was struck by the autonomous vehicle in a police video that showed the moments leading up to the collision.

Herzberg was killed when she was struck by one of Uber's self-driving test vehicles in Tempe, Ariz., on March 18, which has prompted investigations by policy and safety regulators and public scrutiny over how safe autonomous cars can be. It's not known if the sensors on the Uber vehicle had detected Herzberg while she was trying to cross the street.

When it comes to developing self-driving cars, "experience counts, particularly in safety-critical areas," Shashua, who is also a vice president at Intel, wrote in his blog post. While not specifically calling out Uber, the executive criticized "new entrants in the field" who have used recent artificial intelligence developments to take a shortcut in creating a "highly accurate object detection system" and discounted "the decade-plus experience of incumbent computer vision experts."

"More incidents like the one last week could do further harm to already fragile consumer trust and spur reactive regulation that could stifle this important work," Shashua said.

Intel bought Mobileye for $15.3 billion last year, its largest acquisition yet, to deepen its investments in the connected car and autonomous vehicle space. Founded in Israel, Mobileye makes chip-based camera systems for automated systems in connected vehicles.

"With Mobileye, Intel emerges as a leader in creating the technology foundation that the automotive industry needs for an autonomous future," Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said when the deal closed.

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