In what will be the largest exit of an Israeli-based tech firm to-date, Intel has agreed to pay $15.3 billion for autonomous driving company Mobileye.
Founded in 1999, Mobileye is known best for artificial visual collision avoidance technology, which has been used in vehicles manufactured by GM and BMW since 2007; and, in 2015, was incorporated into Tesla’s Model S with Autopilot. Tesla and Mobileye parted ways in Summer of 2016 after a deadly crash involving the Model S.
Just three months ago, Mobileye and Intel (along with BMW) announced they had been developing a fleet of autonomous vehicles jointly, with plans to have models on the road for testing later this year. The group intends to have vehicles ready for consumers in the next four years.
With Intel acquiring Mobileye, the tech giant is boosting its own Automated Driving Group—which will be folded into the Israeli company and headquartered in Jerusalem. Mobileye (with ADG included) will act as a subsidiary of Intel, with Mobileye founders Ziv Aviram & Amnon Shashua remaining on to run the joint venture.
Mobileye and Intel seems like a reasonable fit, even if some are deriding the acquisition based on price alone; Mobileye has proven experience in the autonomous driving industry, one that Intel states will be a $70 billion market by 2030. Intel, on the other hand, has technology, capital, and resources at its disposal—however, lags seriously behind other tech giants with self-driving divisions, including both Apple and Google.