With driverless smart cars dominating the technology discussion, there has been flurry of announcements from car makers to technology giants on how they are contributing in this journey of high-end automation. Recently, during its annual event – GPU Technology Conference – Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang made the announcement that his company was launching “first-of-its-kind” safety model for autonomous vehicle. Jensen claimed that Safety Force Field (SFF) would analyze and predict the dynamics of the surrounding environment of a vehicle by taking in sensor data and determining a set of actions to protect the vehicle and other road users.
Days after the announcement, Mobileye CEO Prof. Amnon Shashua said that Nvidia’s newly launched Safety Force Field (SFF) is nothing but a close replica of the Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS) model that his company published nearly two years ago in 2017. To illustrate the claim Mobileye published a full comparison of the two approaches highlighting that Nvidia’s latest attempt is nothing but an act of emulating its technology.
“If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Nvidia must think very highly of us. Based on the information that has been made available, it is clear Nvidia’s leaders have continued their pattern of imitation as their so-called “first-of-its-kind” safety concept is a close replica of the RSS model we published nearly two years ago. In our opinion, SFF is simply an inferior version of RSS dressed in green and black,” said Shashua.
Taking a dig at Nvidia, Shashua said that Mobileye believe in technology innovation, not linguistic innovation. “We have openly invited and are enjoying active collaboration with industry and government partners around the globe. It is unfortunate that rather than collaborate with us, Nvidia felt it necessary to follow us yet again, creating confusion where there could have been cohesion. Mobileye has invested enormous resources to develop RSS, and Mobileye has obtained intellectual property rights to protect these investments,” said Shashua.
Accusing Nvidia of imitating Mobileye, Shashua said that his firm announced the world’s first crowdsourced mapping technology – Road Experience Management (REM) – in 2016, Nvidia announced a similar solution the following year that claimed to do the same. Similarly, he said when Mobileye coined and introduced L2+ in 2017 as a new category of driving automation that uniquely applied our REM technology to driver assistance systems, again Nvidia followed suit and announced its L2+ offering in 2019.
Shashua informed that its latest innovation RSS was published in an academic paper in 2017 and it openly shared all the technical details and mathematics behind RSS with the view that safety of automated vehicles should not be proprietary and that the industry should collaborate with governments on what it means for an AV to drive safely.
According to Shashua, the response to and support of RSS has been tremendous. Baidu and Valeo have publicly signed on. China ITS has approved a work group tasked with standardizing RSS for the China market. And Mobileye, has engaged with governments and standards organizations around the world on RSS.
Mobileye is a Jerusalem-based company that develops vision-based advanced driver-assistance systems providing warnings for collision prevention and mitigation. Since its inception in 1999, the company claims to have achieved many industry firsts: camera and radar fusion in 2007, pedestrian-detection warning in 2010, camera-only forward-collision warning in 2011, camera-only automatic cruise control (ACC) in 2013, hands-free assist in 2015, crowd-sourced HD-mapping in 2016, the Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS) safety model in 2017 and, most recently, a “vision zero” horizon through a novel preventive system using RSS.
In 2017, Mobileye was acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion, one of the largest acquisition of an Israeli company to date.