Intel’s Mobileye wants to dominate driverless cars—but there’s a problem

It’s obviously true that different types of sensors have different strengths and weaknesses, and so using multiple types of sensors gives you beneficial redundancy. But it’s a much bigger leap to say that these sensors’ failure modes are completely independent and uncorrelated. And if they’re not, then Mobileye’s billion-miles-per-error math doesn’t work.

In an October interview with EE Times Carnegie Mellon safety expert Philip Koopman praised Mobileye for its transparency in laying out its assumptions. However, he was skeptical about the assumption that sensor failures are independent.

“It’s hard to believe that lidar and radar failure independence will work out as well as the discussion assumes,” Koopman said. “Someone will have to demonstrate they are true in practice, not just assume them. And almost certainly there are assumptions that are false that the authors didn’t even realize they made.”