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What will it take for autonomous vehicles to go mainstream?

Ahead of IS Auto Europe we caught up with Omer David Keliaf, CEO & Co-Founder of Innoviz Technologies to talk more about mass commercialisation, forming collaborations to drive forward the industry, vision system developments and the importance of IS Auto Europe. 

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1. You are going to be speaking on achieving mass commercialisation; what do you think it will take for autonomous vehicles to go mainstream?

In order to achieve mass commercialisation, the industry need to deliver better performance at lower cost. It sounds simple but of course technologically that requires a big leap from where we are today -- or more like a complex series of small, iterative leaps. After all, true innovation tends to happen in fits and starts, more of a crooked, meandering line than a straight one from point A to point B. So we’ll have to iterate, test, iterate some more, and so on until we achieve full mass adoption. It will start with RoboTaxis, Fleets and professional transportation introducing Level 5 autonomous driving. This wave will progress into introduction of Level 3 into personal passenger vehicles. Once technology matures further and is available at a lower cost, we will witness Level 4 in personal passenger vehicles, but this will take longer. 

2. What sort of partnerships and collaborations do you think will be necessary to drive the industry forward?

The best way to drive costs down is by developing a shared platform across different partners. This sort of collaboration under a single joint development platform can help get technology to maturity faster and will also increase volume which will directly affect price reduction. An excellent example of this is the collaboration of the BMW Group, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Intel and Mobileye formed last summer. This partnership not only allows the companies to leverage each other’s individual strengths and capabilities, but it helps drive economies of scale for better pricing throughout the industry. 

3. What do you see as the most significant changes coming up in vision systems development and their applications within automotive in the next 12-24 months?

We are confident that solid-state LiDAR is the single most important development happening within the vision systems of autonomous vehicles over the next two years. Mechanical LiDARs were fine for initial testing and proving the overall effectiveness of LiDAR technology, but solid-state LiDAR is the only way to achieve better performance at lower costs. 

4. What are you seeing as the biggest stumbling blocks in industry?

The first and biggest stumbling block is the computational platform required to power all of the data required to get to the type of performance required for Level 5. This is affected by cost, performance, power and size -- all of which must become more efficient and effective. And then there’s the cyber technology aspect and all of the security challenges that come along with it. The maturity of LiDAR is another stumbling block; it will be solved in time, but it won’t happen overnight. Last but not least I’d say that the software needs to reach full maturity, but this can only happen once those first three pieces of the puzzle are solved.

5. Why do you feel it’s important for people to attend IS Auto Europe 2018?

IS Auto Europe is one of the most important events of the year where the discussion focuses on the entire imaging system, which is such a critical part of the overall supply chain. The show brings together nearly all of the major players from across the ecosystem, including OEM’s, Tier 1 solution providers, image sensor suppliers and more to talk about the future of the industry and how to get there. It truly is one of the most informative and enlightening conferences of the year!