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Porsche taps Mobileye for automated driving functions in future models

Porsche has partnered with Mobileye, the autonomous driving unit that Intel spun out into a public company last year, to bring hands-free automated assistance and navigation functions to future sports cars, the companies said Tuesday.

In the upcoming collaboration, Mobileye's branded SuperVision technology platform will serve as the foundation for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) in Porsche's future vehicles. SuperVision allows cars to follow navigation routes, autonomously change lanes and automatically overtake slower vehicles on multilane roads, according to Mobileye. The company even boasts that its system allows drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel on certain types of roads, as long as they remain visually alert should they need to take control of the vehicle. SuperVision relies on a series of cameras and supporting radar to perceive the surrounding environment.

The partnership comes several months after Porsche's parent company, Volkswagen, and Ford pulled their investments into autonomous vehicle technology company Argo AI, resulting in the startup's shutdown. Argo was developing Level 4 autonomous vehicle technology, which would allow the vehicle to handle all aspects of driving in certain conditions without human intervention, according to SAE.

The company had already begun partnerships with Lyft to offer public robotaxi services in several cities. The services, however, were not yet charging passengers, and the path to market for robotaxis grew longer and murkier by the day. Ford and VW decided to prioritize nearer-term profits gleaned from ADAS rather than moonshot bets like full-scale autonomy.

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When Volkswagen ended its deal with Argo AI, it reportedly expanded its cooperation with Mobileye. VW's software unit Cariad already had a relationship with Mobileye to develop highly automated and autonomous driving technologies. Cariad is also working with Bosch, Qualcomm and China's Horizon Robotics to the same ends.

“Mobileye is one of the world’s leading providers of automated driving functions. This technology will help us forge ahead with our strategy of modern, sporty luxury,” said Oliver Blume, chairman of the executive board of Porsche, in a statement. “We are combining an outstanding product with a highly personal experience. The desires and lifestyles of our customers are important to us. We want to exceed expectations again and again.”

Porsche will fully integrate Mobileye's ADAS into its future models. The company's in-house engineers will develop custom systems to monitor the driver's attention, according to Mobileye.

“In most situations, drivers will continue to want to drive a Porsche themselves in the future -- and will be able to do so at any time," said Michael Steiner, a board member for R&D at Porsche and head of development at VW Group. "This said, there are certain aspects of partially automated driving that we are interested in. Intelligent systems like Mobileye SuperVision technology can aid the driver in everyday situations, for example by not having to keep their hands on the wheel the entire time in traffic jams.”

Porsche did not say when customers would see Mobileye's technology on future models, nor which models would feature SuperVision. The company did say other VW Group brands will be able to adopt SuperVision as a platform solution.