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Mobileye Is Intel’s Designated Driver

April 4, 2017

Author: Mike Demler

Intel has announced a $15.3 billion offer to acquire Mobileye, the leading supplier of vision-processors that target the fast-growing market for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADASs) and autonomous vehicles. Following regulatory and shareholder approval, which it expects will take up to nine months, Intel will transfer leadership of its autonomous-driving program to Israel under the direction of Mobileye CTO and cofounder Amnon Shashua, who will report directly to CEO Brian Krzanich. Intel veteran Doug Davis currently runs the company’s Autonomous Driving Group (ADG) and will report to Shashua after the transaction closes.

Mobileye sampled its first EyeQ processor in 2004, and it has been in production since 2007 with carmakers and Tier One automotive suppliers. In 2014, Tesla began producing the first dual-function (Level 2) ADAS in its Model S, which uses EyeQ3 in the Autopilot system to simultaneously control steering and acceleration/braking. The Israeli company has five Level 3 semiautonomous-driving customers for EyeQ3 and EyeQ4; among them is Audi, which plans to soon sell cars that enable hands-off self-driving during traffic jams. Five car manufacturers expect to have fully autonomous Level 4/Level 5 vehicles using EyeQ4 and EyeQ5 in production by 2021.

This acquisition should turbo boost Intel’s autonomous-driving strategy. The company has positioned its x86 processors to supply the “brains” in self-driving cars, but it lacked the “eyes” to build a complete system. The Mobileye acquisition will give it the complete in-vehicle platform and Tier One relationships it currently lacks. Mobileye will benefit as well by taking advantage of Intel’s processor-design expertise, manufacturing technology, and vast financial resources.

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