Waymo and Intel just announced a blockbuster new partnership in the self-driving space — but it’s a collaboration that’s actually been going on for years.
The two companies, which are among the leaders in the race to develop driverless car technology, officially announced their partnership in a blog post penned by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. There were no financial terms revealed, and other details about the partnership were not disclosed, but we did gain some new insights about Waymo’s driverless vehicle platform.
We now know that Waymo was using Intel’s tech well before the partnership was made official earlier today. A separate post from Waymo revealed that it has used Intel technology in its self-driving cars since 2009, long before it spun out from Google as a standalone company last year.
Intel played a big part in developing Waymo’s in-house self-driving hardware platform, which is used in its fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans. Waymo wrote that its engineers worked closely with Intel to integrate processors and other Intel tech into the platform, specifically to create its compute system that crunches the road data collected by its suite of sensors, also built in-house.
It’s not exactly clear why the collaboration was made public after so long. Krzanich wrote that the collab “ensures Intel will continue its leading role in helping realize the promise of autonomous driving and a safer, collision-free future,” which doesn’t really mean much of anything beyond the fact that Intel’s tech will be used in Waymo’s vehicles.
A Waymo rep couldn’t share any other details about the partnership when we reached out via email, providing only a statement from Waymo CEO John Krafcik. “Intel’s technology supports the advanced processing inside our vehicles, with the ability to manufacture to meet Waymo’s needs at scale,” it read.
By acknowledging Intel’s position in Waymo’s platform, both companies can add another big name to their roster of partners, and potentially open up the door for more public collaboration going forward. True self-driving cars are still far off in the future, and from the way the field is coming together, collaboration will be a shortcut for more rapid development.