The US giant Intel chipset has decided to strengthen itself in the automobile of the future by buying Monday Mobileye, an Israeli company specializing in anti-collision systems for more than $ 15 billion.
This is a record amount for the takeover of a high-tech Israeli company by a foreign partner.
Created in 1999, Mobileye is specialized in artificial vision applied to the automobile. The company has entered into numerous agreements with manufacturers, including a strategic partnership on real-time image processing with Volkswagen.
Mobileye claims to be the leader in anti-collision systems thanks to its algorithms capable of interpreting the information provided by a camera.
The company is best known to motorists for its system that beeps when their car approaches too close to another vehicle, pedestrian or two-wheeler, or inadvertently crosses a line on Several ways.
Monday’s deal amounted to an “approximate” amount of 15.3 billion dollars (14.3 billion euros), Intel said in a statement. It will “accelerate innovation for the automotive industry and position Intel as a leading technology provider in the highly or fully stand-alone vehicle market,” Intel said, referring to future automotive vehicles without drivers.
Intel estimates that all data systems and services in this sector should represent a market in excess of $ 70 billion by 2030.
Israeli Minister of Economy Eli Cohen welcomed the military radio of this operation. “This redemption is a mark of confidence in the Israeli economy and brains,” he said. “The important thing now is that the production (of Mobileye) remains in Israel where some 300 international companies are located,” added the minister.
Fleet of test
The German manufacturer BMW plans to put a test fleet of 40 autonomous vehicles on the roads by the second half of 2017, as part of the alliance it announced last summer with Intel and Mobileye. BMW has also expressed its intention to mass-produce a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021, with the BMW iNext, the future vehicle of the Bavarian manufacturer.
Mobileye also announced in August an alliance with the British-based automotive supplier Delphi, to develop an automated driving system that would be available to carmakers in 2019.
Intel is very well established in Israel since the opening of its first development center in Jaffa in 1974. In April 2014, the group announced an investment of 4.1 billion euros to upgrade its microprocessor plant in Kiryat Gat, southern Israel.
Safety is one of the arguments put forward by the defenders of the driverless car. According to a recent study published in the American journal Science, the widespread adoption of autonomous cars could eliminate up to 90% of road accidents.
But it would also raise ethical dilemmas, such as whether the vehicle must sacrifice its occupants to avoid the collision with pedestrians.