Israeli Industry Conference

Nvidia and Mobileye Have the Same Goal, Different Approaches, Says Nvidia CEO

On Monday, Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua lambasted Nvidia in an Intel blog post, writing that the American chipmaker has routinely followed the concepts and innovations Mobileye has pioneered

Lilach Baumer 11:5326.03.19
Nvidia Corporation and Intel's Mobileye NV have the same goal when it comes to the future of automotive vehicles—safety, Nvidia co-founder and CEO Jensen Huang said Tuesday. Speaking at Calcalist’s annual Israeli Industry Conference held in Tel Aviv, Huang said that despite recent accusations to the contrary, the two companies differ in their approach to that goal.


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On Monday, Mobileye co-founder and CEO Amnon Shashua lambasted Nvidia in an Intel blog post, writing that the American chipmaker has routinely followed the concepts and innovations Mobileye has pioneered. "It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," he wrote, before adding that he would like to "set the record straight" on Nvidia's "latest imitation."





In 2017, Mobileye published a model for what it called a Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS) system, calling on other industry players to adopt the model as a starting point for an industry standard. Nvidia, Shashua said, reached out to Mobileye in 2018 regarding a collaboration on the subject, but then backed out. Last week, Nvidia published Safety Force Field (SFF), its own safety model for automotive vehicles. The model, Shashua wrote, was like "looking in the mirror," though an "inferior" one.


Shashua then proceeded to outline the similarities between the two models, ending with a statement that "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, he said, "has obtained intellectual property rights to protect" the investments it made when developing RSS.


"I have a great deal of respect for Amnon," Huang said Tuesday. “He is a great man, but he is wrong in this matter."


Safety for autonomous vehicles is an area that needs innovation, Huang said, and both Mobileye and Nvidia approach it similarly, by applying mathematics to ensure the car avoids making accidents. But the method itself is different, he said.


"My feeling is that safety is such a great challenge for autonomous vehicles, such an important area to work on, that we should open up the technology and afford a great deal of innovation and a great deal of new ideas to come," Huang said. "It is surely not finished yet, and so there are many ideas that will emerge in the future—and we should encourage innovation, not try to stop it."


There are many ways to achieve the common goal of safety, Huang said, adding "I think Amnon should focus on continuing to advance the safety architecture of the cars."




At the conference, Huang also provided additional information about Nvidia's recently announced $6.9 billion acquisition of Mellanox Technologies Ltd. "There are no cost synergies to the deal," Huang said of the transaction that is expected to eat up almost all of Nvidia's free cash. "We are going to keep every product line, we are going to keep switches, we are going to keep every single employee. Out two companies are complementary and there are no overlaps whatsoever."


Mellanox co-founder and CEO Eyal Waldman, who also participated in the panel, had previously been cagy regarding his stay at the company's helm following the acquisition. On Tuesday, he repeated his statement that the matter will be debated following the completion of the deal, but Huang said he has asked Waldman to stay on for the foreseeable future.


Nvidia has no plans for more acquisitions in the near future, Huang said, adding jokingly "I'm broke." He thinks about every acquisition long and hard before making it, Huang said, but Mellanox had been in his sight for a long time.

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