Mobileye, an Israeli tech company, has begun testing its self-driving cars in New York City. The company is the first to ever successfully test its self-driving cars on New York City streets, and only the second to receive a permit to test those cars. This news comes at a time that more companies are looking to use self-driving technology in their motor vehicles.
Who is Mobileye?
Mobileye Vision Technology, Ltd., is an Israeli technology company that was originally founded in 1999. They primarily develop self-driving cars, as well as driver-assistance technology for other types of vehicles. In 2017, they were purchased by Intel, the major computer manufacturer, for $15.3 billion, which remains the largest purchase of any Israeli company in history. The company previously developed self-driving technology for Tesla, but since its purchase by Intel, it has since focused on creating technology for BMW and Volkswagen.
What Are Self-Driving Cars?
Self-driving cars are motor vehicles that are able to drive themselves to various destinations without the need of humans to operate them. These cars use an advanced form of “driver-assistance” technology, which is already deployed in many modern vehicles to prevent crashes and other mishaps. While it is still customary for at least one person with a driver’s license to drive the car, this is primarily for safety purposes in the event of a mechanical failure.
Why Are They Test Driving in New York City?
As Amnon Shashua, CEO of Mobileye, noted in a Jerusalem Post story, operating self-driving vehicles in a city is very different from operating them in a carefully controlled test track, or even operating them in a sparsely populated area. Self-driving cars must contend with a number of issues in heavily populated cities, like jaywalkers, double-parked vehicles, light pollution, and other problems that have typically proved difficult for cars using driver-assistance technology. By testing their vehicles in New York City, they hope to gather data to deal with these problems, minimizing the risk of accidents.
Are Self-Driving Cars Safe Now?
There are still plenty of safety concerns with self-driving cars, even after Mobileye’s successful test drive in New York City. Many companies that have attempted to test their self-driving technology in other settings have suffered from serious technological problems, in some cases resulting in serious injury or death. However, once the technology is sufficiently developed, many proponents of self-driving cars believe it will make driving much safer, removing the risk of accidents by eliminating the dangers caused by human error.
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