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Intel to Invest $100M in Automotive Electronics R&D

simTD dashboard display (Martin Leissl/Technische Universität München)

simTD dashboard display (Martin Leissl/Technische Universität München)

Intel Capital, the venture capital arm of semiconductor maker Intel Corporation in Santa Clara, California has established a $100 million fund for investments in equipment, software, and service developers in the automotive industry. The new fund was one of several programs in the automotive sector announced by Intel, including an automotive innovation/product development center, expanded in-house R&D effort, and collaborations with academic institutions.

The goal of the connected car, says Intel, is to provide the right information, at the right time, and in the right way to keep drivers and passengers informed, entertained, and productive while maintaining safety. A connected car can also communicate with the cloud, transportation infrastructure, and other vehicles to provide help to the driver and real-time traffic information to optimize the flow of traffic.

Intel Capital makes equity investments in technology start-ups and established companies worldwide. Its Connected Car Fund plans to make investments over the next four to five years in equipment, software, and service enterprises developing technologies that make possible new in-vehicle applications and enable connections between vehicles and other connected devices, such as sensors and mobile devices.

As part of the overall automotive initiative, Intel says it will expand the work of its R&D arm, Intel Labs, on interaction and experience research focusing on solutions for vehicles and transportation infrastructure. The work is expected to include new ways to use the Internet, sensors, and context-aware technology to determine the best way to present information to drivers and passengers, to reduce complex interactions while driving.

Intel Corp. announced plans as well for a new innovation and product development center targeting the automotive industry that will serve as the company’s hub for R&D on in-vehicle infotainment and telematics solutions for the connected car. The facility, to be located in Karlsruhe, Germany, is expected have a secured grounds for vehicle test drives and an electronics backbone supporting satellite, TV, digital video, and GPS technologies.

The Karlsruhe location was selected, says Intel, for its proximity to technical universities and associated hardware and software vendors with expertise in automotive technology. Intel says it plans a related academic program with these institutions that includes basic and applied research, curriculum development, and internship programs to encourage the exchange of ideas among academia, Intel, and the automotive industry.

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