Intel Acquires Silicon Mobility, Aims at Automotive AI with New "Software Defined Vehicle" SoC Line

Impressive demo shows a car running 12 workloads at once, including on-board generative AI and even PC gaming.

Intel has announced another dimension to its desire to "bring AI everywhere," acquiring Silicon Mobility in order to gain a stronger foothold into the automotive market with artificial intelligence in electric vehicle management — and a new family of system-on-chip products designed for what the company calls "Software Defined Vehicles" or SDVs.

"Intel is taking a ‘whole vehicle’ approach to solving the industry’s biggest challenges. Driving innovative AI solutions across the vehicle platform will help the industry navigate the transformation to EVs [Electric Vehicles]," claims Intel Automotive vice president and general manager Jack Weast of the company's newest announcement. "The acquisition of Silicon Mobility aligns with our sustainability goals while addressing a critical energy management need for the industry."

Silicon Mobility specializes in system-on-chip designs built for energy management in electric vehicles, which will now be brought into the Intel portfolio. In addition to bringing the company under its wing, the acquisition will also see Intel deploying its own technologies in the same target market — part of its vision, outlined late last year, to "bring AI everywhere," and to beat rivals NVIDIA and AMD in the automotive market.

Intel isn't just looking at bringing AI to bear on managing the power in electric vehicles, though: the company has also announced a new range of "AI-enhanced" system-on-chip products aimed at what it calls the "Software Defined Vehicle" — demonstrating its products, including a "first-generation SDV SoC", its RealSense Vision SoC, and an Arc A770 graphics processor, being used for in-vehicle generative AI, e-mirror support, high-definition video conferencing, and even running PC games, with multiple operating systems running simultaneously. "Intel's AI-enhanced SDV SoCs combine the best of AI PC and Intel data center technologies necessary to support a true software-defined vehicle architecture," Weast claims.

The acquisition of Silicon Mobility, which is subject to the usual regulatory approvals, and renewed focus on automotive comes a week after the company announced it was spinning out a dedicated subsidiary for generative AI technologies: Articul8, with which Intel says it will continue to collaborate.

No release date or pricing information for the SDV SoC family has been announced, though the company will be demonstrating its products at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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