In an interesting turn of events, Mobileye disclosed during a recent earnings conference call that its multi-year partnership with Tesla is coming to an end. For those unfamiliar, Mobileye is an Israeli-based company that provides the sensors and a good deal of the underlying technology behind Tesla’s Autopilot software. Specifically, the company’s EyeQ System-on-Chip solution was used to power features such as traffic sign recognition, late departure detection and more.
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But for reasons that still remain murky, it appears that Mobileye’s EyeQ3 chip – which is currently found in Tesla’s fleet of vehicles – will be the last chip the company provides to Tesla.
“Mobileye’s work with Tesla will not extend beyond the EyeQ3,” Mobileye said in a statement provided to The Wall Street Journal. “We continue to support and maintain the current Tesla Autopilot product plans. This includes a significant upgrade of several functions that affect both the ability to respond to crash avoidance and to optimize auto-steering in the near term, without any hardware updates.”
News of the abrupt ending to the longstanding partnership is particularly unexpected, especially given reports that Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently spent some time in Israel taking a look at Mobileye’s next-gen technology. The Journal adds that Mobileye’s next-gen chip is slated to arrive sometime in 2018.
Some have speculated that the rift between the two companies may be rooted in the fatal May 7 accident involving a Tesla Model S that crashed into a tractor-trailer. In the wake of the accident, Mobileye issued a statement indicating that the crash was not of the variety that Mobileye’s current technology is capable of preventing.
Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see if Tesla tries to develop its own SoC solution or if they’ll look to partner up elsewhere.