Partners are cheering Intel's move Monday to acquire Mobileye in a blockbuster $15.3 billion deal, as the company looks to boost its share in the connected car space.
"The intended acquisition of Mobileye by Intel highlights the commitment that Intel has to the growing market for autonomous vehicle systems," said Douglas Grosfield, founder and CEO of Five Nines IT Solutions, a Kitchener, Ontario-based strategic service provider and Intel partner. "Today’s automobile manufacturers are baking in ever-more-sophisticated systems and software into their vehicles, all designed to make our crowded roads safer. Technology that helps the driver make more informed decisions, in a faster and safer way, have obvious value and provide the human driver greatly enhanced tools to perform a complex task."
Israel-based Mobileye comes to Intel with a portfolio of tools for advanced driver assistance systems -- including surround vision, sensor fusion, mapping and driving policy products for car manufacturers including Honda, BMW and Volvo.
The company's EyeQ chips, which pack cars with the intelligence to identify and read traffic signs and detect roadway markings such as lanes and debris, were installed in as many as 16 million vehicles in 2016.
"Vehicle automation could be one of those technology game-changers, both on a productivity side as well as a safety side," said Michael Goldstein, president and CEO of LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Intel partner. "This acquisition shows you the importance of being a leader in up-and-coming technologies. ... The price alone speaks for itself."
Intel and Mobileye have worked together in the past, with the two partnering with BMW to test self-driving cars in July. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said Monday that Mobileye will help accelerate the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's efforts around computer vision, localization and mapping, and machine learning and artificial intelligence in the autonomous vehicle space.
"Many of you have asked why we think autonomous cars and vehicles are so important to Intel’s future," he said in an email to employees. "The answer is data. Our strategy is to make Intel the driving force of the data revolution across every technology and every industry. We are a data company. The businesses we focus on, and deliver solutions to, create, use and analyze massive amounts of data."
As part of its overall efforts to push deeper into the cloud, data center and Internet of Things markets, Intel has been deepening investments in automated vehicle systems, which it estimates will have a market opportunity of up to $70 billion by 2030.
Intel isn't alone in its efforts to double down on connected cars -- in October, Qualcomm unveiled a $47 billion deal to acquire automotive chip supplier NXP, which broadens the company's portfolio of sensors, networking and other tools essential for autonomous driving.
Intel, for its part, in November said it would invest $250 million to research autonomous driving connectivity and security, and officially lifted the curtain on the Automated Driving Group, which the company said will research and develop innovative next-generation autonomous driving solutions and driver-assist connected systems.