Intel makes $15bn move to clear way for driverless cars

Computer giant Intel splashes out $15bn on 'eyes' for driverless car

By investing in road-scanning systems to connect to its high-performance on-board computers, the chip maker charges towards vehicle autonomy

INTEL is to buy an Israeli maker of self-driving car technology for $15.3bn (£12.6bn), a record deal for the emerging autonomous vehicle industry.

The American microchip maker will combine its automated driving group with the Jerusalem-based Mobileye to develop advanced self-driving vehicle systems for car manufacturers.

The race to create the first fully autonomous vehicle is hotting up as big motor manufacturers and technology companies test increasingly sophisticated cars and lorries. Intel estimates that the market for driverless vehicle systems and data services will be worth $70bn (£60bn) by 2030.

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Mobileye makes a scanning system that monitors the road for potential collisions with vehicles, pedestrians and other objects. It was once a supplier to Tesla but the companies parted ways last year.

“The average autonomous car will put out the data equivalent of approximately 3,000 people”

Brian Krzanich, chief executive of Intel, said: “This acquisition essentially merges the intelligent eyes of the autonomous car with the intelligent brain that actually drives the car. [The deal] will put us in a position to accelerate innovation for car makers.”

In an email to staff, Krzanich said: “The average autonomous car will put out the data equivalent of approximately 3,000 people. Put just one million autonomous vehicles on the road and you have the data equivalent of half the world’s population.

“This massive amount of data requires all of Intel’s assets to provide the cost-effective high-performance solutions our customers need.”

Intel will pay $63.54 for each Mobileye share, a premium of about a third on Mobileye’s closing price on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, March 10. The shares rose in value by 28.2% to close at $60.62 last Monday night. Intel shares fell by 2.1% to $35.16.

This article first appeared in The Times