Intel recently announced the acquisition of Mobileye NV, an Israeli car-camera company. The purchase is one of Intel’s largest ever, and signals that the company sees great potential in the future of autonomous vehicles. Ted Greenwald writes that a race to build autonomous vehicles has ramped up among companies including Tesla, Google, Uber and more. He reports:
The deal for Mobileye is the second largest in Intel’s 48-year history, after its $16.7 billion acquisition of Altera Corp. in 2015, and its size signals Intel’s strong desire to stake out a significant position in the market after the chip maker largely missed out on the smartphone boom.
Intel, which faces a raft of challenges in its core business of powering the personal-computer industry, estimates the market for autonomous-driving systems, services and data will reach $70 billion by 2030. That includes navigation, in-car communications and advertising—and keeping a car’s perception and decision-making capabilities finely tuned to avoid mishaps as road conditions change.
“You can think of the car as a server on wheels,” Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich said in an interview. “The average autonomous car will throw out four terabytes of data a day, so this is one of the most important markets and one of the fastest-growing markets.”
The industry will include not only cars but autonomous algorithms, digital maps and a variety of sensors—all new markets to Intel, Mr. Krzanich said. “And they require all the assets Intel has,” he said.
Mobileye’s technology helps a car see and understand the space around it, providing functions such as automatically keeping a car in its lane. It includes 360-degree vision and mapping, and integratesvarious sensor elements such as cameras, radar, sonar and the laser-sensing technology known as LiDAR. The company’s chips are already installed in more than 300 car models, Mobileye says on its website.
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