Intel Makes Its Move Into the Connected Car

Updated from 11:31 a.m. to include comments from interview.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Intel (INTC) announced its plans for the connected car, bringing a slew of new hardware and software productions, known as Intel In-Vehicle Solutions, to the market. The company, however, is going even further, as it makes investments and helps research to bring the connected car of the future into reality.

Included in the new products being announced are a range of compute modules, an integrated software stack of operating system plus middleware, and development kits. The world's largest chipmaker said that it expects its standardized platform approach will shorten development time by more than 12 months and reduce costs up to 50%.

The first available products are designed for in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems with advanced driver assistance capabilities, with future products geared for advanced driving experiences such as autonomous or self-driving cars. 

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company started breaking out recently revenue for its Internet of Things group, where the connected car will fall under. The segment achieved revenue of $482 million in the first quarter, up 32% year over year, due in large part for strong demand for IVI systems.

"To further strengthen Intel's technology partnership with the automotive industry and prepare for the future, we are combining our breadth of experience in consumer electronics and enterprise IT with a holistic automotive investment across product development, industry partnerships and groundbreaking research efforts," said Doug Davis, corporate vice president of Intel's Internet of Things Group, in a press release. "Our goal is to fuel the evolution from convenience features available in the car today to enhanced safety features of tomorrow and eventually self-driving capabilities."

In an interview with TheStreet, Davis noted Intel has been at this for a few years, developing the capabilities and technologies, working with the automakers. "The integration of platforms is important," Davis said over the phone. "We're not just delivering a microprocessor. What we're doing is taking processors (the Atom C  3800 series), integrating them into modules, including the operating system and a number of other basic building blocks, (broadband connection.) The software and hardware we're providing are the building blocks that are great for infotainment systems. It enable automakers to get new features into cars with a shorter development time."

Davis noted that Intel is currently working with several large auto companies, including BMW, Hyundai and Infiniti, with more to be announced in the coming months.

As autonomous driving becomes a reality and less something out of science fiction, the cars will need larger on-board computers to deal with all of the data in real-time. About 1 GB of data will need to be processed each second in the car's real-time operating system, with the data having to to be analyzed quickly enough for the vehicle to adapt to changes around it. Given that there is only so much room in a car, with real estate at a premium, the packages need to be as small as possible. One automotive company recently had to change its approach, as the original plan took up most of the vehicle's trunk space.

These plans go back a few years, as Intel established a $100 million Intel Capital Connected Car Fund in 2012, to help push the initiative along. Since that time, Intel has made investments in companies like ZMP, which develops a autonomous driving platform, and vehicles connected with sensors, radars and cameras. Intel Capital also invested in CloudMade, a provider of data aggregation and cloud connectivity necessary for future IVI solutions; Mocana, which delivers security to the IVI platform with a mobile app-shielding solution; and Tobii Technology, which applies perceptual computing technology to advanced driver assistance applications.

--  Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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