Intel on Monday morning confirmed earlier reports that it will acquire Jerusalem-based self-driving technology company Mobileye for $63.54 a share, or $15.3 billion in total. The deal follows successful work the two companies have done on BMW’s iNext self-driving platform, which is expected to appear in production vehicles as soon as 2021, just four years from now. Of course, Intel and Mobileeye have their sights set much higher than just on the work they’re doing with BMW. The companies are looking to build a scalable architecture that will become an industry standard, powering safe and feature-rich autonomous driving systems in cars and trucks from a wide range of auto makers. By combining forces in this multi-billion deal, the duo will seemingly be better positioned to realize this ambitious vision.
“This acquisition is a great step forward for our shareholders, the automotive industry and consumers,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in a press released announcing the deal. “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.”
Mobileye is widely known as a market leader in the self-driving car space, though its most recent round of press ahead of this major deal wasn’t very positive. Tesla was one of the Israeli company’s biggest early partners, but the two firms parted ways after Tesla blamed Mobileye tech in part for the fatal Model S crash that left a Model S driver in Florida dead last year. The car’s sensors failed to see a tractor-trailer pulling out onto a highway with Autopilot engaged, and the Model S struck the side of the truck, killing the driver instantly.
Both Tesla and Mobileye have independently made significant changes to their self-driving systems since then in an effort to improve safety and performance.
“We expect the growth towards autonomous driving to be transformative. It will provide consumers with safer, more flexible, and less costly transportation options, and provide incremental business model opportunities for our automaker customers,” Mobileye CEO Ziv Aviram said of the deal with Intel. “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.”
Intel says that it expects the acquisition to close within the next nine months.