Intel is a behemoth – the 1000-pound Gorilla inside IT hardware running on the majority of PCs, tablets, servers, a lot of IoT, and now smart cars.
It is perhaps no surprise that it focused on partnerships and collaborations at CES 2018 – innovation starts with Intel Inside.
It started with an impressive drone light show over the fabled Bellagio Hotel fountain.
Then it set another Guinness Book of Records for flying 100 shooting star mini-drowns indoors. The Intel Shooting Star Mini drone is the company’s first drone designed and built to enable indoor light show experiences. It is designed with a super-lightweight structure and propeller guards for safety. Its light source can create more than 4 billion colour combinations designed for visually stunning aerial displays.
But let’s get onto more important, although less spectacular announcements.
10nm processors mean less heat, more speed and more raw power
Intel began shipping its first 10nm processor at the end of last year. This is a huge step forward with other processor makers still shipping cheaper, easier to make, far less efficient 16nm chips.
Spectre and Meltdown bugs identified by Google Project Zero
Intel has delivered to its OEM PC partners the firmware updates to the processors made in the past five year – the work is more than 90% complete. Partners, not Intel, will then roll the firmware out as part of their update processes.
It says that based on its most recent PC benchmarking; the performance impact should not be significant for average computer users – they should not see significant slowdowns in common tasks such as reading email, writing a document or accessing digital photos. Ultimately, the overall impact will depend on the specific workload, platform configuration and mitigation technique.
An important point to note is that no exploits of Spectre and Meltdown have yet been seen I the wild, but it is important that you watch for firmware patches from your PC maker.
ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) Smart cars (not necessarily fully autonomous)
Intel and Mobileye are collaborating on a camera, 5G comms and processor system called EyeQ shipping nearly nine million chips in 2017 to 27 car makers. In addition to providing visual alerts to drivers (Road Experience Management or REM), the system can be used for Dynamic Data Collection (DDC).
DDC data includes road and environmental conditions (hazards, construction, traffic density and weather), infrastructure, and parking availability. Mobileye recently signed a next-step agreement with Volkswagen to formalise the collection and marketing of this data. Recent partnerships with the city of Dusseldorf, Spain Directorate-General of Traffic, Gett Taxi Limited, Berkshire Hathaway.
Mobileye Aftermarket announced a series of partnerships and collaborations with ride-share leaders, municipalities and government administrations that will enable the mapping of city streets around the world, including London and New York, through the deployment of Mobileye 8 Connect in thousands of for-hire vehicles.
While DDC could be a little “Big Brother” its value as an aggregated road status system cannot be disputed.
If you want to read more about the Six levels of Autonomous Driving Automation, click https://newsroom.intel.com/6-levels-autonomous-driving-automation/
Intel and IoT
Intel announced new Wi-Fi AX chips to cater for the explosion of IoT devices in the home. The new standard offers significant improvements over 802.11ac. It is expected to deliver up to 40% higher peak data rates for a single client device and improve average throughput per user by at least four times in dense or congested environments. It will also increase network efficiency and extend the battery life of client devices.
Intel is working with its partners to ensure fragmentation (an array of incompatible devices), privacy/security, and connectivity are all addressed by new IoT and Wi-Fi AX devices.
It highlighted voice services for smart speakers and PCs with Amazon Alexa – from Acer, ASUS, HP and Lenovo – provide hands-free productivity, entertainment and smart home control. Intel is improving the Alexa for PC experience by offering support for hands-free voice control; Intel Smart Sound Technology for crisp, rich audio; and Intel Wake on Voice to ensure the PC is ready to hear the “wake” word and start responding.
Intel and Volocopter
If you though making autonomous cars safer was hard spare a thought for Intel’s collaboration with Volocopter – building the first manned, fully electric and safe VTOL in the world.