Intel snaps up computer vision expert Mobileye in $15.3bn deal

13 Mar 2017

Mobileye will help Intel to ramp up its autonomous vehicle programme. Image: photoiva/Shutterstock

Intel’s partnership with Mobileye is over. Intel’s acquisition of Mobileye, though, is finally happening, as the duo announced the deal.

Mobileye’s prominence in the self-driving cars space has grown and grown in recent years, as its computer vision technology has developed alongside an industry deep in research and development. For that reason, Intel is snapping it up.

In January, it emerged that the BMW 7 Series will employ Intel and Mobileye technologies during global trials starting in the US and Europe, as part of a broader partnership between the trio.

The companies have developed a scalable architecture that can be adopted by other carmakers to pursue state-of-the-art car designs and differentiated brands.

Intel and Mobileye’s partnership has proved a little stronger; for example, the duo joined forces last year alongside Delphi to build a self-driving car platform.

Indeed, such is the convergence of thought between the US tech giant and Mobileye, $15.3bn is the price that the former is willing to pay for the latter.

“The acquisition of Mobileye brings together the assets of Intel’s Xeon processors, FPGAs, 3D XPoint memory and 5G modems with the world leader in automotive computer vision,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich of the deal.

“This acquisition essentially merges the intelligent eyes of the autonomous car with the intelligent brain that actually drives the car.”

Mobileye’s technology helps to drive the overall running of assistance systems, with cruise control, lane management and distance helped by the Israeli company’s ‘vision’ software. Its technology is already used by BMW, Volvo, Buick and Cadillac.

The acquisition will help Intel to ramp up its autonomous vehicle solutions – an industry it expects to be worth $70bn by 2030.

The deal is part of a broader Intel strategy to invest in data-intensive market opportunities that build on computing and connectivity – Intel’s dominant areas.

“At four terabytes of data per day, the average autonomous car will put out the data equivalent of approximately 3,000 people. Put just 1m autonomous vehicles on the road and you have the data equivalent of half the world’s population,” said Krzanich.

“This massive amount of data requires all of Intel’s assets to provide the cost-effective high-performance solutions our customers need. 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.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic