Two years ago, Intel acquired the leading maker of autonomous vehicle technology, Mobileye for $15B. Marking it the biggest acquisition of an Israeli tech company, more than doubling the previous record holder, Frutarom: $7 billion, 2018. Today we see this acquisition to be a prescient move from Intel. Mobileye’s technology is exceeding expectations every year and it plans to grow its business in robotaxis and data monetization. Intel said that revenues from its Mobileye subsidiary achieved record growth in the third quarter, resulting from sales of chips that power driver-assist features.
Mobileye, the industry leader in autonomous vehicle technology has over 25 global automakers rely on Mobileye technology to make their vehicles safer for consumers. There are over 40 million vehicles worldwide that are equipped with Mobileye technology. Right now, 13 automakers are working with Mobileye to build autonomous vehicles. Today, Mobileye covers a range of technology and services, including sensor fusion, mapping, front-and rear-facing camera tech and, at the beginning of 2018, crowdsourcing data for high definition maps, as well as driving policy intelligence underlying driving decisions.
This acquisition catapulted Intel to the front lines in the Robotaxi market and it is positioned to be a dominant force, adding significant heat to both NVIDIA and ARM rivals. They recently disclosed that this partnership yielded 20% every year in its driver-assist technology. Intel sees a bright future in the self-driving automation and it is estimated that this technology will swell into a $160 billion industry by the end of next decade.
The technology that was initially developed for self-driving cars, could also be used to enhance their driver-assist systems. In turn, the data gathered from these driver-assist systems will provide information to help in building a more precise autonomous vehicle – on top of providing revenue. As Mobileye CEO Amnon Shahua put it, it is “funding the future of driverless cars.”
The data collected from driver-assistance systems enable Mobileye to crowdsource the process of mapping the roads that will act as the blueprint for autonomous driving. It is projected that the roads will be fully mapped in the EU by the first quarter of 2020 and the majority of the States by the end of 2020. Another source of geographical data is obtained through Mobileye’s partnerships with BMW, Volkswagen, Nissan, and three other OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers.) While the intent was to develop self-driving technology, Intel has subsequently built a burgeoning data-collection business. By the end of 2030, Intel projects a driver-assistance and data market worth $72.5 billion.
At the peak of the PC era, Intel pioneered in processors. When smartphones came into the picture, the odds turned against Intel as smartphones became the more convenient option. Intel’s deliberate decision to move deep into self-driving technology is undoubtedly Intel’s strategic plan to build up its position in emerging areas of computing. Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO said, “This acquisition is a great step forward for our shareholders, the automotive industry and consumers. Intel provides critical foundational technologies for autonomous driving including plotting the car’s path and making real-time driving decisions. Mobileye brings the industry’s best automotive-grade computer vision and strong momentum with automakers and suppliers. Together, we can accelerate the future of autonomous driving with improved performance in a cloud-to-car solution at a lower cost for automakers.”
Ziv Aviram, Mobileye co-founder, president and CEO, added. “By pooling together our infrastructure and resources, we can enhance and accelerate our combined know-how in the areas of mapping, virtual driving, simulators, development tool chains, hardware, data centers, and high-performance computing platforms. Together, we will provide an attractive value proposition for the automotive industry.”
Autonomous vehicles are no longer something we only see in the movies, technology can soon be our personal drivers. How does this invention affect other markets? CBInsights predicts that there will 33 industries that will be affected by this technology. Ride-hailing, fast food, and airlines are among the few industries that are likely to be disrupted. Traffic will no longer be the cause of your anger management issues. Driving from Florida to Chicago will no longer be a daunting task with too many pitstops to McDonald’s. All we need to do is settle in with our favorite books or movies and let the car do the driving. “Driving licenses? What are those?”