Ford Motor Company and Mobileye have announced an expansion of their partnership, with plans to integrate improved ADAS across Ford’s global product lineup....
Ford Motor Company and Mobileye, an Intel Company, have announced an expansion of their partnership, with plans to integrate improved advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) across Ford’s global product lineup.
Ford and Mobileye are no strangers. This represents Ford’s first commitment to Mobileye’s technology “for the entire lifecycle of its next-generation vehicles” however, according to the companies. “Both parties will work with designated Ford Tier 1 providers to supply the technology for vehicle integration.”
A big win for Mobileye
Egil Juliussen, an independent automotive industry analyst, called the announcement “a big win for Mobileye.”
“Ford has long used Mobileye hardware,” noted Intel’s spokesperson, but with this announcement, Ford “is expanding both volume and scope.”
Estimating that Ford’s global sales in 2020 at more than 4 million units, Juliussen believes volume will increase to 5 million by 2025. Assuming “Ford will introduce Mobileye-based ADAS model by model,” while some sales in developing countries might not have ADAS, Juliussen projects that Mobileye’s yearly Ford volume will approach 4 million units in 2025.
According to the announcement, “new production Ford vehicles will use Mobileye’s EyeQ3 and EyeQ4 for Level 1 and Level 2 advanced driver-assistance systems platforms.” Also, “Building on the capabilities of its predecessors, EyeQ4 can process multiple sensors and other inputs required for semi-autonomous driving.”
Ford noted, “By customizing Mobileye’s excellent software and sensing technology, Ford’s great driver-assist features will continue to evolve and provide customers with confidence on the road throughout the life of their vehicles.”
However, it remains unclear what exactly there is for Ford to customize in Mobileye’s technology. Juliussen said, “I think it means that Mobileye has ADAS features and functions that Ford does not have.” In other words, “It is a nicer way to say that Ford is adding and improving its ADAS features via Mobileye’s hardware and software.”
Ford explained in its release, “Mobileye’s technology will support features such as Lane-Keeping System, auto high-beam headlamps, Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control.”
Ford to cement Mobileye’s lead in ADAS
The expanded deal with Ford is believed to cement Mobileye’s lead in the ADAS market. The Intel spokesperson noted that Mobileye supplies some measure of ADAS to 13 of the top 15 automakers globally.
Juliussen acknowledged, “Nobody is close to Mobileye in ADAS. It’s hardware-software solution has been the leader for a decade or so.” While that doesn’t mean there aren’t viable competitors, he pointed out that Mobileye ADAS deployment has reached 60 million vehicles, available on 300 auto models from more than 25 carmaker partners.
Ford’s big decision to go all in with Mobileye on ADAS was likely influenced by Mobileye’s REM (Road Experience Management) mapping system, noted Juliussen. As he explained in his latest column in EE Times:
Some of the ADAS systems [adopted by car OEMs] include Mobileye’s mapping system for acquiring detailed AV location maps. The map collection system is called REM. Currently more than 3 million vehicles collect REM data with BMW, Nissan and VW as publicly disclosed customers. Mobileye projects around 25 million vehicles will use REM in 2025.
Mobileye Inside campaign?
Ford is clearly betting the company’s ADAS reputation on Mobileye. “Ford will bring Mobileye’s name front and center through the inclusion of its logo in the company’s SYNC driver-assist displays,” Ford noted in the press release. It added, “For the first time, customers will be made aware that Ford is building the power of some Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology features on top of the sensing capabilities provided by Mobileye.”
Volkswagen / Mobileye / Ford triangle
Juliussen observed that VW has been a big Mobileye customer. “With Ford getting close to VW, Ford may have learned about Mobileye ADAS strengths and benefits,” he noted.
Just last month, Ford and VW signed agreements to expand their global alliance, under which they will complement each other’s strengths in midsize pickup trucks and commercial and electric vehicles.
Looking into the future of Autonomous Vehicles (AV), Juliussen noted, “From a strategic viewpoint, Mobileye may be an AV backup solution to Argo — just in case.”