Intel bets big on driverless car tech with $15.3bn MobilEye buyout

Intel riding the driverless highway

With PC sales slowing and Intel seeming incapable of making up the ground lost to mobile chip rivals like Qualcomm, the computing company is having to diversify its interests – and driverless cars seem to have risen to the top of Intel's agenda, as it's just spent a whopping $15.3 billion in order to acquire MobilEye and its autonomous vehicle tech.

Having previously worked with MobilEye on BMW's iNext self-driving vehicle platform, Intel now hopes to leverage the experience of the Israeli-based company to build a third-party self-driving system architecture that any car manufacturer can buy into.

Rather than developing pricey algorithms and a driverless knowledge base, car manufacturers will instead just be able to dip into Intel and MobilEye's pool.

Tesla troubles

MobilEye is not a company immune to controversy, however. It experienced a relatively acrimonious split with Tesla after voicing concerns over the way Elon Musk's company was selling its driver-assistance features. MobilEye built the system, and felt that Tesla was dangerously close to selling the concept to the public as a completely driverless solution at the time.

The driverless firm will enjoy some stability under Intel's wing then, while Intel picks itself up a company with close to 20 years of experience in car technologies.

It's a huge purchase (and one of the biggest in Israeli tech history), but it seems a relatively safe bet for Intel. With everyone from Google to Uber and Ford to Tesla preparing for the driverless revolution, Intel will want to make sure it's on the starting grid, and not repeating the rolling start it's faced with mobile.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gerald is Associate Editor of TechRadar, taking care of the site's news and features output. He loves his gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Based out of TechRadar Towers, London, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK. He dreams of the day when he can pop on a VR headset and meet Lawnmower Man-era Pierce Brosnan. Sadly, Pierce doesn't share the dream.