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Intel shifts gear in driverless car market with Mobileye acquisition

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Intel Mobileye hero lrChipmaker Intel has made a massive push into the autonomous car sector with an agreement to buy driverless vehicle technology firm Mobileye for just over $15 billion.

The acquisition of the Jerusalem-based technology company, which should be completed over the next nine months, gives Intel access to a vehicle systems, data and services market it says will be worth up to $70 billion a year by 2030.

Mobileye, which has around 660 staff, specialises in the development of computer vision and machine learning, data analysis, localisation and mapping for advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving. Its products are or soon will be integrated into car models from more than 25 global automakers and are also available in the aftermarket. The firm has partnerships with OEMs and tier suppliers including BMW, VW and Delphi.

“By polling 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 centres and high-performance computing platforms,” commented Mobileye co-founder, president and CEO, Ziv Aviram, about the acquisition. “Together, we will provide an attractive value proposition for the automotive industry.”

“The combination of Intel’s high-performance computing and connectivity solutions with Mobileye’s best-in-class computer vision technology will put us in a position to accelerate innovation for carmakers and lead in delivering the technology foundation for highly and fully autonomous driving,” added Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich, in a statement to employees.

“Our strategy is to make Intel the driving force of the data revolution across every technology and every industry,” he added. “The addition of Mobileye to our family provides the data path to our computing solutions becoming the intelligent set of eyes that will allow a vehicle to see and define the world around it.”

Following the acquisition, Intel’s Automotated Driving Group will join Mobileye at the latter’s headquarters in Israel, where the combined organisation will be lead by Mobileye co-founder, chairman and CTO, Professor Amnon Shashua.

The acquisition will hugely expand Intel’s involvement in the driverless car market, which is based on its Intel Go technology. This includes high-performance in-vehicle computing, software development tools, 5G-ready connectivity, a robust data centre platform, and the latest advances in artificial intelligence. There are around 250 self-driving test vehicles on the road today that have Intel technology inside, and the firm is poised to add 40 more autonomous test vehicles to the total in partnership with BMW during the second half of this year.

By 2020, says the chipmaker, autonomous vehicles will each generate around 4,000 gigabytes of data a day, creating massive demand for processing, memory, high-bandwidth connectivity and computer vision technology.