LeBron James isn’t scared of the formidable Golden State Warriors, but like most of us, he probably has a healthy distrust of fully autonomous vehicles. In a new Intel advertisement, however, the innovative microchip company wants us to believe that the NBA’s top player isn’t daunted by self-driving cars.
Intel hopes to ease the masses into accepting autonomous vehicles, because the company is betting on a self-driving future. Intel has banded with Waymo (formerly known as Google’s autonomous car project) to make self-driving hybrid minivans, and recently acquired the autonomous driving tech company MobileEye.
Intel isn’t producing the actual cars. But it is making the AI chip components that make the cars autonomous, so it has a deep interest in promoting the safety of these vehicles.
In the ad (shown above), an initially hesitant LeBron James is quickly convinced that a driverless car is safe. The “fearless” James is told that the vehicle “sees like 80 times better than you do.” James then goes for a ride in the backseat of a futurist sedan, and exclaims, “Hey y’all, I’m keepin’ this!”
The future of driverless cars, according to Intel, isn’t just about a vehicle that perceives the road and potential hazards better than our humble human eyes. It’s about artificially intelligent cars that can learn from one another, and with a great “cloud” mind of accumulated data, become profoundly safer.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, human error is “the critical reason for 93% of crashes,” and Intel uses the stat as the foundational reason for its support of autonomous vehicles.
“Self-driving technology can help prevent these errors by giving autonomous vehicles the capacity to learn from the collective experience of millions of cars – avoiding the mistakes of others and creating a safer driving environment,” wrote Intel CEO Brian Krzanich in a company blog last month.
LeBron James doesn’t come cheap, so Intel must think these safety campaigns are essential: The company is confident that automakers will abandon human-operated cars in the future, so it better ensure that people are comfortable buying autonomous machines.
“Given the pace at which autonomous driving is coming to life, I fully expect my children’s children will never have to drive a car,” wrote Krzanich.