Intel purchases Israel’s Mobileye for $15.3 billion

Intel’s purchase of Mobileye is the biggest acquisition of an Israeli high-tech company to date.

Intel, one of the world’s biggest technology conglomerates, has confirmed reports that it is purchasing Mobileye, a leader in autonomous driving technology, for $15.3 billion.

This would be the biggest exit in the history of Israeli hi-tech, which until now were NDS, acquired by  Cisco for $5 billion, and Chromatis, purchased by Lucent for $4.5 billion.

“Israeli genius, Israeli pride,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Facebook. “This deal proves in a dramatic fashion that our vision is being realized. Israel is becoming a global technology center — not only in cyber, but also in the automotive realm.”

Mobileye, a Jerusalem-based company, was founded in 1999 by Prof. Amnon Shashua of the Hebrew University, and Ziv Aviram, with the goal of lessening vehicular injuries and deaths. Shashua is the company’s CTO; Aviram, who has a business background, is the CEO.

The startup company develops driver assistance systems, including cameras and sensors, and is considered one of the leading developers of automated car technology. The company’s technologies are used by many of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers as they look for ways to effectively complete with Google, Apple and Telsa, all of which are developing autonomous vehicle technologies.

“By pooling together our infrastructure and resources, we can enhance and accelerate our combined know-how in the areas of mapping, virtual driving, simulators, development tool chains, hardware, data centers and high-performance computing platforms,” Amiram stated.

The deal is expected to close within nine months, according to Intel. Aviram told Netanyahu, who called to congratulate him, that the center of the company’s operations would remain in Israel, that the company would build a global development center in the country and that it would be responsible for Intel’s international activity regarding autonomous vehicles.

“This acquisition is a great step forward for our shareholders, the automotive industry and consumers,” Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO, said in a statement. “Intel provides critical foundational technologies for autonomous driving including plotting the car’s path and making real-time driving decisions. Mobileye brings the industry’s best automotive-grade computer vision and strong momentum with automakers and suppliers. Together, we can accelerate the future of autonomous driving with improved performance in a cloud-to-car solution at a lower cost for automakers.”

Last July, Intel, the BMW Group and Mobileye announced the creation of a joint task force to bring fully automated driving into full-scale production by 2021.

By: Yoni Ariel/TPS and World Israel News Staff