Intel banking on Mobileye deal for a drive in the right direction

Mobileye NV

The company's largest-ever deal, the $16.7 billion acquisition of programmable chipmaker Altera, has so far failed to meet its objective of helping to offset the continued decline in Intel's larger PC business.

Already Mobileye has partnered with Intel on a project to build and test a number of driverless cars, however now it seems like this was just the beginning of their cooperation.

Intel said Shashua will head Mobileye and Intel's automated driving group in Israel.

"Mobileye brings the industry's best automotive-grade computer vision", Brian Krzanich, chief executive officer of Intel, said in a statement.

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google's parent company Alphabet, praised Mobileye's cutting edge technology previous year, even though Mobileye is competing with Google to produce the world's first driverless vehicle.

Along with connectivity, computer vision and machine learning, the companies also will combine sensor fusion and high-performance computing capabilities for mapping and location services. Last year, Intel bought Yogitech, Arynga, and Itseez-all smaller companies working on technologies critical to autonomous vehicles.

He called it "a great step forward for our shareholders, the automotive industry and consumers", adding: "Together, we can accelerate the future of autonomous driving".

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At a price of $63.54 per share, the offer for Mobileye is a more than 34% premium from its March 10 closing price of $47.27.

Mobileye is Intel's second-biggest acquisition behind the purchase of Altera Corp.

Intel said it expects to conclude the deal within the next few months. It also controls about 70 percent of the market for software that runs automatic emergency braking and semi-autonomous cruise control systems that are in cars and trucks on the road today.

In a statement announcing the deal, Intel claims that the market for various vehicle systems could be worth about $70 billion by the year 2030, and the deal with Mobileye puts the chip maker in competition with new-era auto companies such as Tesla, as well as old rival such as Qualcomm, which recently acquired chip maker NXP.

From a technology standpoint, Mobileye's offerings help vehicles see what's going on, while Intel chips will help process the increasingly computationally intensive operations that follow.

In its annual report for 2015, Mobileye said its products "were included in serial production vehicle models since 2007".

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