In 2017, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) acquired Israeli autonomous driving technology company Mobileye for $15.3 billion. The acquisition gave Intel a wide range of technologies used in autonomous driving and the extensive list of car manufacturers Mobileye (F:0ME) was already working with.
“The combination is expected to accelerate innovation for the automotive industry and position Intel as a leading technology provider in the fast-growing market for highly and fully autonomous vehicles,” Intel said of the acquisition. “Intel estimates the vehicle systems, data and services market opportunity to be up to $70 billion by 2030.”
As part of the deal, Intel made Mobileye co-founder and CTO Amnon Shashua head of Intel’s autonomous driving division, based out of Israel.
This week, Intel acquired another Israeli company to bolster its position in the autonomous driving market, Moovit, which analizes traffic patterns and provides the data to third parties such as Uber (NYSE:UBER) and approximately 7,500 transit authorities. The deal values Moovit at $900 million, but Intel said the acquisition price is $840 million as a result of previous investments in the startup.
The acquisition of Moovit shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Along with being an investor in Moovit, the two companies had already been working together. Furthermore, Amnon Shashua has been on Moovit’s Board of Directors as an observer.
With auto manufacturing halted throughout much of the world, Intel viewed this is a perfect opportunity to be aggressive with its autonomous driving ambitions.
“While others working on AV R&D may slow down or downsize their ambitions given the headwinds in our economy, we saw an opportunity to acquire a valuable asset that will help us realize our vision for driverless MaaS even faster,” Shashua wrote in a blog post.
Intel is clearly working towards becoming a full-service provider of technologies for autonomous driving. The deal allows Intel to integrate Moovit’s technology into Mobileye’s “mobility as a service” (MaaS) offering, which is currently used in 60 million vehicles worldwide.
“Intel’s purpose is to create world-changing technology that enriches the lives of every person on Earth, and our Mobileye team delivers on that purpose every day,” Intel CEO Bob Swan said. “Mobileye’s ADAS technology is already improving the safety of millions of cars on the road, and Moovit accelerates their ability to truly revolutionize transportation — reducing congestion and saving lives — as a full-stack mobility provider.”
While traditional auto manufacturers struggle with the effects of the coronavirus, it will be interesting to see if Intel’s aggressive foray into autonomous driving technologies positions the company as a leader in the sector in the years to come.