Computer chip giant Intel has agreed to buy Israeli autonomous driving company Mobileye for $15.3 billion, the biggest tech deal in Israel’s history.
“Mobileye brings the industry’s best automotive-grade computer vision and strong momentum with automakers and suppliers,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in a statement.
“Together, we can accelerate the future of autonomous driving with improved performance in a cloud-to-car solution at a lower cost for automakers.”
Mobileye is the world leader in advanced driver assistance systems aimed to prevent road collisions, paving the future for driverless cars. Last year, Mobileye already partnered with Intel and BMW on a project to deploy 40 autonomous vehicles for testing on the roads later this year.
Intel and Mobileye also partnered with UK’s Delphi Automotive, an automotive parts manufacturing company, late last year.
Mobileye’s co-founder and chairman Prof. Amnon Shashua said earlier this year that “together with BMW Group and Intel, Mobileye is laying the groundwork for the technology of future mobility that enables fully autonomous driving to become a reality within the next few years.”
Founded in 1999 with a mission to reduce vehicle injuries and fatalities, Mobileye was listed in 2014 on the New York Stock Exchange, where its market capital is now $10.6 billion. The company’s technology is used by traditional car makers competing with the likes of Google, Apple and Tesla on autonomous vehicles.
Intel, which has lost the advantage in the chip market to its competitor Qualcomm, has been actively looking to acquire technologies that will give the company an edge. As cars progress from assisted driving to fully autonomous, they are increasingly becoming data centers on wheels. “Intel expects that by 2020, autonomous vehicles will generate 4,000 GB of data per day, which plays to Intel’s strengths in high-performance computing and network connectivity,” the company’s statement said.
By buying Israeli company Mobileye, Intel is also expanding its investment in Israel, where it currently employs 10,000 people.