Intel—heretofore not a major automotive supplier—have put in an offer to buy Mobileye for about USD $15bn Mobileye. The deal will catapult Intel into position to compete with № 1 Qualcomm for market share in computer processing for ADAS and AVs—Qualcomm's top-dog status itself being the result of their $47bn purchase last year of NXP Semiconductors. The deal also puts Intel into direct competition with chipmaker Nvidia to provide vehicle brainpower.
Mobileye commands about 70% of the global market for driver assist systems, so "This is a logical purchase for Intel," says Mike Ramsey, an analyst with Gartner Research. "It's a good way to get a strong foothold with a company that—even if it's not big—has a very big backlog and a nice profit margin."
Intel and Mobileye already have been coöperating on multiple self-driving technology projects. The fruits of one such collaboration will roll onto the roads this year in the form of a fleet of 40 self-driving BMW 7-Series sedans. Mobileye software will analyse sensor data to spot possible obstacles, and an Intel chip will decide if, how, and when the vehicles should steer, accelerate or brake.