Intel Joins Other Tech Companies in Self-Driving Technology
Automotive manufacturing chain focused on self-driving technology
After semi-autonomous cars, the next big breakthrough could be fully autonomous cars. That possibility has crowded the entire automotive manufacturing chain, from cameras to sensors to AI (artificial intelligence) to mapping services to wireless technology to quick-charge batteries.
Automakers expect the first fully autonomous cars to be deployed in ride-sharing programs or on lower-speed roads in the next few years. The full-fledged adoption of autonomous cars would take time since the right infrastructure and regulations will need to be in place.
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M&A deals for self-driving projects
A few large tech companies have been working on self-driving programs. That has given rise to several partnerships, start-up acquisitions, and ventures.
- General Motors has been the most active, acquiring more than 15 companies since 2011. In 2016, it acquired a minority stake in Lyft, purchased assets of Sidecar, and acquired Cruise Automation for $1.0 billion.
- Ford acquired automotive app (application) maker Livio in 2013 and is now acquiring Israeli machine learning company SAIPS and shuttle transit service Chariot. It has also invested in private companies working on cloud software, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), autonomous mapping, and mobile car rental technologies.
- Alphabet (GOOG) acquired Israel-based mapping start-up Waze for $1.1 billion as part of its Waymo driverless car project.
- Uber acquired self-driving truck maker Otto for $680.0 million.
- Apple (AAPL) acquired 3D (three-dimensional) sensor specialist PrimeSense for ~$300.0 million.
- Qualcomm (QCOM) is acquiring NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) for $39.0 billion to try to become a leader in the automotive semiconductor market.
Semiconductor companies eye the autonomous car market
The following semiconductor companies are also investing in driverless technology:
- Qualcomm has developed the Snapdragon processor for cars.
- NXP Semiconductors has developed the BlueBox autonomous car platform.
- Nvidia has developed the Drive PX 2 platform.
- Xilinx (XLNX) and China’s Baidu (BIDU) are working on autonomous car technology.
Samsung (SSNLF) has acquired audio gear company Harman Kardon for $8.0 billion to sell more chips in the autonomous car space. Intel (INTC) realized that it’s falling behind in this revolution and jumped at the opportunity to acquire Mobileye (MBLY).
Automakers invest in various components of self-driving cars
While some automakers are investing in complete driverless solutions, other automakers and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are investing in the following components of self-driving cars:
- mapping technologies such as Inrix, HERE, and Civil Maps
- connectivity technologies such as TTTech, Cubic Telecom, and Savari
- machine learning and computer vision technologies such as SAIPS, Preferred Networks, Nirenberg Neuroscience, and Itseez
- next-generation transportation service networks such as Uber and Gett
Next, let’s see what opportunities driverless cars could offer Intel.