Intel throws its hat into the ring and joins Silicon Valley’s race for self-driving cars.
The US chipmaker, Intel, has taken a major step and some might say, gamble, on driverless cars with a $15 billion takeover of car technology specialist firm, Mobileye.
The acquisition of Mobileye has jumpstarted the world’s largest computer chipmaker and thrown Intel to the forefront of the highly competitive market to supply the technology behind self-driving automotive vehicles. But the move isn’t a total shot in the dark. Mobileye and Intel are already working together with BMW to put 40 autonomous vehicles through their paces later this year. So from tht point of view, the takeover makes sense.
The Jerusalem based Mobileye also already has contracts with 27 other car makers, and supplies about two thirds of the software market already responsible for automatic braking systems fitted into current generations of cars and trucks. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has also already said that he estimates that self-driving cars will be a $70 billion industry by 2030.
Technology companies are increasingly attempting to exert more influence in the automotive market by snapping up the smaller firms with specialist knowledge and skills in the sector. For their part, car companies such as Ford, are doing the same thing, gambling that driverless, or near self-driving cars are the future. Up until very recently, suppliers such as Mobileye typically offered only one part of automated driving systems.
In the past, however, Mobileye and many other suppliers typically offered one aspect of an automated driving system. Now, however, car manufacturers and tech companies are trying to consolidate their spheres of influence by forming alliances with each other to provide as complete an all-in-one system as possible.
As part of the deal between Intel and Mobileye, Intel’s current automotive research team will move to Israel to work with Mobileye there.
Mobileye was founded in the final year of the twentieth Century to develop “vision-based systems to improve on-road safety and reduce collisions.” The company’s revenues tripled last year to $358 million. With all that is happening in the self-driving sector, perhaps Intel’s $15 billion purchase may look like it was a bargain basement acquisition in ten years’ time.