Mobileye is off the market.
Chipmaker Intel is buying the Israeli-based autonomous tech company in a deal valued at approximately $15 billion.
Mobileye had recently been working with car maker Tesla, proving some of the self-driving technology that went into its Autopilot feature. But that partnership ended last summer, around the time of a fatal crash involving a Tesla car in May. But other carmakers have adopted Mobileye's technology including BMW which stitched its camera-based tech into BMW's cars, designed to help drivers (and cars) avoid collisions.
Interest in self-driving cars is only growing, along with the belief that the market will expand as well. Certainly competition to get cars with autonomous features tested on the road is intense. States including Michigan, Arizona and California are granting carmakers permission to test vehicles with self-driving features on their roads. And that's just in the United States. Countries including Germany and Sweden have opened up facilities and roadways—or are planning to—to allow companies to test self-driving cars as well.
California is now permitting test cars with self-driving features on their roads—even without a driver (nor steering wheels or pedals). The caveat is carmakers must obtain permission from the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission first. But the direction is clear: self-driving abilities within most cars, if not fully autonomous cars, are going to be a reality sooner than later. That growth translates into a $70 billion market by 2030 for the data, services and vehicle systems used to maintain, develop and support fully autonomous cars , according to Intel. The company expects its deal with Mobileye to close within the next nine months, or close to the end of 2017.
Autonomous features are already in cars, although many drivers may not think of these abilities as self-driving tools. But for anyone who has used BMW's parking assistance feature, or Tesla's own Autopilot—these are dependent on autonomous software that is making their cars, and ostensibly themselves, safer when they're on the road. And that's the ultimate belief of autonomous technology developers: that self-driving features will produce a safer way for people to travel by car. (And of course, make a lot of money for businesses in this enterprise, as well.)
"We expect the growth towards autonomous driving to be transformative," says Ziv Aviram, Mobileye's co-founder, president and CEO in a statement. "It will provide consumers with safer, more flexible, and less costly transportation options, and provide incremental business model opportunities for our automaker customers."