INTEL HAS AIMED the shade cannon at Nvidia and blasted it with both barrels, slagging-off Team Green's self-driving car tech for a lack of originality.
In a blog post containing more salt that seaman's armpit, Professor Amnon Shashua, senior vice president of Intel and CEO of Intel-owned Mobileye, much said Nvidia's car tech is nothing more than a poor rip-off of Intel's work; we'll get the popcorn if you grab the beers.
"It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and our innovations have not gone unnoticed with many embracing the same concepts that we pioneered. One industry player in particular habitually follows our lead and today I would like to set the record straight on its latest imitation," wrote the pissed-off prof.
"Let us consider the recent past. After Mobileye announced the world's first crowdsourced mapping technology - Road Experience Management™ (REM) - in 2016, Nvidia announced a solution the following year that claimed to do the same.
"When Mobileye coined and introduced L2+ in 2017 as a new category of driving automation that uniquely applied our REM technology to driver assistance systems, again Nvidia followed suit and announced its L2+ offering in 2019."
And Shashua's text tirade goes on for quite some time, with him doing the equivalent of calling Nvidia a copycat and kinda shouting "liar, liar pants on fire" at the firm's CEO Jensen Huang.
"If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Nvidia must think very highly of us. Based on the information that has been made available, it is clear Nvidia's leaders have continued their pattern of imitation as their so-called 'first-of-its-kind' safety concept is a close replica of the RSS [Responsibility-Sensitive Safety] model we published nearly two years ago," Shashuna added.
"In our opinion, SFF [Safety Force Field] is simply an inferior version of RSS dressed in green and black. To the extent there is any innovation there, it appears to be primarily of the linguistic variety."
And there's a heck of a lot more as well, with the professor detailing the similarities between RSS and SFF.
Shashua is probably riding a wave of tech pride, but we can't help think that he's unfairly slamming Nvidia here. The parallels he draws between Intel's care safety tech and Nvidia's stuff all draw from common sense.
In one section he notes that SFF has a rule to not hit someone from behind, which RSS also has. But to our mind that would be like accusing Ford of copying Volkswagen for putting brakes in its cars that stop if rear-ending other vehicles.
Or, for a techie example, it could be like Acer being accused of copying Asus because it has a trackpad on its laptops.
When it comes to some common sense tech, there's going to be cross over, especially as Intel's work on RSS was but a concept, not patented, and shared in the public domain.
One could say Nvidia's tech was inspired by Intel, but it's a bit far to attack it for copying.
Furthermore, a lot of car makers use Nvidia's tech in their systems, self-driving or otherwise. So if Nvidia's tech was about as effective as a chocolate teapot in a sauna party, then it probably wouldn't be used as much as it is.
There's an argument that Nvidia may have stuck its neck out by claiming it has tech and research others can't match when Intel has a paper detailing similar innovations. But then Apple seems to do that all the time, almost coming across as if no other tech outside of Cupertino exists.
Sure Nvidia may need to give Intel a little more of a nod in research papers, but we'd say there's no need for Shashuna to have been so heavy on the shade.
We asked Nvidia for its thoughts on the blog post and it got back with a pretty vanilla but fair response: "Safety is a critical goal for the entire AV industry. Safety Force Field (SFF) is Nvidia's safety driving policy. It is guided by a single core safety principle rather than a complex set of case-by-case rules which can get unwieldy to implement and validate.
"SFF represent a significant body of work that took years to develop. SFF is unique, mathematically verifiable, and also validated in simulation.
"Nvidia believes the AV industry benefits from having choices when ensuring AV safety. We are making SFF open and available for the industry to use and build upon."
It's not often that one tech firm directly bitches about another, so this is pretty refreshing from a bystander's point of view.
But really we'd much rather seen Intel and others spend less time talking about tech and put more effort into making near-future tech like self-driving cars a fully-realised reality; also Intel could hurry the hell up with its 10-nanometre chips rather than lets its execs ejaculate verbal venom all over a blog. µ
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