This week, Intel announced a plan to acquire Mobileye for $15.3 billion as a strategic move to fortify its burgeoning automative chips division. Since early 2000, Israel-based Mobileye has supplied car manufacturers with computer-vision technology for advanced driver assistance systems.
Using a low-cost, yet powerful chip-based system combining a monovision camera, image recognition software, and machine-learning algorithms, Mobileye accurately and rapidly distinguishes between vehicles, pedestrians, signs and the rest of the world around a vehicle - critical functions of autonomous vehicles if they are to succeed and gain broad market acceptance.
Why the Mobileye acquisition makes sense for Intel
Since the mid-2000s, car manufacturers have sought to re-invent the car-driving experience with digital gauges, navigation, and advance driver assist functions. This requires working directly with companies like Nvidia, which as already captured a sizable share of the growing auto market. In recent years, Qualcomm, ARM, and AMD have all introduced formidable solutions for the growing auto market.
Since early 2012-2013, Intel has been developing a line automotive processors that leverage technology from both its high-performance server, PC, and laptop chips. With PC sales on the decline globally and little success in the mobile market, Intel hopes to leverage its high-powered processors for autonomous vehicles.
For Intel, Mobileye will strengthen its position in the semi-autonomous and autonomous driving technology market, which is the primary market of its high-reliability Xeon server chip and Atom E3900 chip. The Atom E3900 comes in dual-core and quad-core configurations and is up to 1.7 times faster at computing and 2.9 times faster at graphics tasks. The Mobileye acquisition will lead to fleets of on-demand, autonomous, electric vehicles early in the next decade.
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