Intel buys MobilEye for a cool $15.3 billion

"Together, we can accelerate the future of autonomous driving with improved performance in a cloud-to-car solution at a lower cost for automakers", he added. It also insures that Intel doesn't miss an opportunity to cash in on the recent self-driving wave. The Israeli company now utilizes STM chips for the products it provides auto manufacturers with.

Currently, both companies are already collaborating with German automaker BMW on a project to make around 40 self-driving test vehicles on the road in the second half of this year.

Mobileye was also an early partner in developing Tesla's self-driving technology, but it ended the collaboration publicly in 2016, citing safety concerns around the vehicles' Autopilot hands-free system.

The $15-billion-dollar acquisition is the largest purchase of an Israeli tech company in history, according to the Times of Israel.

Mobileye was founded in 1999.

Chipmakers like Qualcomm (QCOM), which is buying NXP Semiconductor (NXPI) for $47 billion, and Nvidia (NVDA), have both targeted the smart auto market.

Ziv Aviram, Mobileye's chief executive, said: "By pooling together our infrastructure and resources, we can enhance and accelerate our combined know-how".

Intel says that MobilEye will be merging with its existing autonomous vehicle team once the deal is finalized with shareholders and regulators.

The deal, valued at $15.3 billion, is expected to close in the next nine months.

But Intel's bid for Mobileye is also the latest move from the chipmaker to catch up to rivals like Qualcomm and Nvidia, who have spent the last two years building a substantial lead in the automotive industry as suppliers of driverless vehicle system processors and software.

The move will let Intel combine its high-performance computing products with Mobileye's computer vision expertise.

"As cars progress from assisted driving to fully autonomous, they are increasingly becoming data centees on wheels", the statement said.

"The deal dramatically proves that the vision which we are leading is being realized", said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

While Intel is known for hardware chips and Mobileye for collision detection and mapping software, the merger promises to create an expanded portfolio of technologies needed for driverless vehicles.

  • Kyle Peterson