uploads///A_Semiconductors_INTC MBLY Complementary products

What Encouraged Intel to Acquire Mobileye for a High Premium?


Mar. 20 2017, Updated 9:07 a.m. ET

What synergies would a Mobileye merger bring to Intel?

Mobileye (MBLY) is a leader in advanced driver assistance systems and has a strong partnership with 27 automakers around the world. Intel (INTC), on the other hand, is eager to expand in the automotive market and develop an end-to-end autonomous car solution.

What excites Intel more is the amount of data an average autonomous car can collect in a day. All that data would require real-time processing and seamless movement of data between the car and the data center. Since Intel is a data company, the autonomous car could become Intel’s fastest-growing market with an estimated addressable market of more than $70.0 billion by 2030.

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Strong engagement with automakers

Developing an autonomous car requires close collaboration among suppliers and automakers. Nvidia (NVDA) is already at the forefront, working with more than 80 automakers, tier 1 suppliers, and start-ups on their autonomous car projects.

Nvidia’s next closest competitor is Mobileye, which is engaged with 27 automakers to supply its driver assistance systems based on a single-lens camera. Mobileye is focused on driving cars using computer vision. Its strong relationship with automakers and top-tier suppliers would bring Intel closer to Nvidia’s self-driving technology.

End-to-end autonomous driving solution

An autonomous car is a collaborative effort since it has several components such as autonomous algorithms, digital maps, and a variety of sensors. All these markets are new to Intel. It’s been investing in several start-ups, catering to various components of self-driving systems. But it has failed to make a mark in the auto market.

So Intel decided to bring in some experts and hand over its automotive operations to them. Intel and Mobileye aim to offer an end-to-end autonomous-driving solution.

Mobileye helps a car “see” and understand the situation on the road with its automotive-grade 36-degree computer vision and mapping solution. It’s comprised of various elements such as cameras, radar, sonar, LiDAR (light detection and ranging), sensor chips, in-car networking, and roadway mapping.

Intel connects a car with other vehicles and data centers through high-speed wireless technology. Its processors in data centers help a car interpret objects and make real-time decisions through artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The combination of Mobileye’s and Intel’s technologies creates an end-to-end autonomous-driving solution from car to data center. The two companies together may be able to accelerate their efforts in autonomous driving and deliver a lower cost cloud-to-car solution since Intel would have greater control over the entire process.

However, analysts aren’t convinced by these merger synergies and see more risks than opportunities. We’ll look at the weak points of the merger in the next part of this series.


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