The Israeli firm Mobileye, which supplies camera-related tech to several automakers, will no longer provide equipment for Tesla’s Autopilot after the end of the current contract. The companies will end their collaboration when Tesla stops using Mobileye’s EyeQ3 chip, which seems likely to occur when the carmaker introduces its Autopilot 2.0 suite.
The two companies are offering contradictory reasons for the breakup. During a recent conference call, Mobileye CTO Amnon Shashua said that his company had decided to end the relationship following the fatal crash involving an Autopilot-equipped Model S. He said Mobileye wanted to retain more control over how its technology is used, and that carmakers should be clearer about the limitations of autonomy features. “It’s not enough to tell the driver to be alert but to tell the driver why.”
However, Elon Musk said the split was “inevitable,” and implied that Mobileye was holding Tesla back. Tesla Autopilot Program Director Sterling Anderson said that “tight integration of hardware and software is critical to fast, efficient progress. Moving quickly frequently requires bringing the solution in-house.”
There have been signs that Tesla was planning to drop Mobileye’s system. According to Green Car Reports, the Disruptors of Detroit have been bulking up on chip architects and related talent over the last few months, including former AMD employee Jim Keller, who joined Tesla as VP of Autopilot Hardware Engineering.