Intel’s massive Mobileye buyout heralds bright future to driverless car technology

mobileye buyout billions by Intel

Intel’s massive buyout of Israel’s driverless car innovator and electronic sensor company Mobileye may finally give the driverless car concept the attention it so well deserves. Intel, whose computer chips and semiconductor technology is found in nearly every personal computer, appears now to be very serious about being involved in the driverless car concept.

Prior to the March 13 press releases by both Mobileye and Intel Corp, experiments in driverless car technology have been carried out by companies such as Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors, Uber’ self-driving taxi tests, and by software search engine giant Google.

So far, experiments using driverless car technologies have had mixed results, with test cars “struggling” when approaching bridges and when dealing with complex road work and environmental challenges.

Mobileye, an advanced technologies company based in Israel, was founded in 1999 with the aim to develop what it refers to as ‘vision-safety technology’ to make cars and roads safer, reduce traffic congestion and save lives. Mobileye helped develop devices to enable cars to “sense” approaching obstacles like other vehicles, pedestrians; and even walls and other obstacles in parking lots.

This resulted in what is now known as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)  that are now
commonplace in many new cars. These systems have been used for years in taxis in Israel.

As stated by Ziv Aviram, CEO and co-founder of Mobileye: “Drivers are responsible for 93 percent of road accidents. We have an epidemic of the modern world, and in some sense, we’ve become indifferent. There is a remedy that will save a million and a half lives and 50 million injuries a year, and therefore the autonomous car trend has caught on and can’t be stopped. It won’t be stopped.”

Tesla using Mobileye system before the crash

Once installed, Mobileye’s vision sensors literally view the road ahead and warns the driver in real-time of approaching road dangers.

So why would a computer chip giant like Intel want to invest so much money, $15.3 Billion, in a company like Mobileye? The answer: Intel wants to be a partner and major game player in the development of driverless cars. The future of this technology appears to be well worth such a large investment from Intel’s point of view. There is also much more at stake than only having cars with artificial intelligence sophisticated enough to drive themselves.

Mobileye’s advanced vision systems are already in use in many late model cars today. This will hopefully help reduce the number of road accidents on major streets and highways. These vision systems alone gave Mobileye a total revenue of more than $358 Million in 2016; a gain of over 47% over the previous year.

With Intel and Mobileye joining forces in such a big way, it shouldn’t long before the driverless car concept will be commonplace in large American, European and Asian cities; especially with taxi companies like Uber.

Read more about self-driving cars and electric car technology:
Google goes for awesome driverless car concept
Driverless Tesla electric car will test run on Israel’s Better Place grid
Will GM make electric cars the right way?

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