Nio, Intel’s Mobileye partner, to build self-driving electric cars for consumers

Mobileye, the Israeli-based automotive sensor company acquired by Intel in 2017 for $15.3 billion, is partnering with Chinese electric car startup Nio to develop autonomous vehicles that consumers can buy.

The companies, which describe this as a “strategic collaboration,” aim to bring highly automated and autonomous vehicles to consumer markets in China and “other major territories.”

Under the agreement, Nio will engineer and manufacture a self-driving system designed by Mobileye. The self-driving system will target consumer autonomy — meaning cars people can buy — a departure from the traditional industry approach of developing autonomous vehicles just for ride-hailing services.

Nio will mass produce the system for Mobileye’s driverless ride-hailing services and also plans to integrate the technology into its electric vehicle lines for consumer markets. This variant will target initial release in China, with plans to subsequently expand into other global markets, the companies said.

The self-driving system will be based on Mobileye’s Level 4 AV kit and be engineered for automotive qualification standards, quality, cost and scale, the companies said in a joint statement.

One year ago, Volkswagen Group, Intel’s Mobileye and Champion Motors said they planned to deploy Israel’s first self-driving ride-hailing service in 2019 through a joint venture called New Mobility in Israel. The group was supposed to begin testing this year in Tel Aviv and roll out the service in phases until reaching full commercialization in 2022. (Intel and Mobileye began testing self-driving cars in Jerusalem in May 2018.)