Intel has joined the self-driving car race – CNBC

The fleet will instead highlight Intel’s $15 billion acquisition of Mobileye, which closed this week. Israel-based Mobileye makes technology that helps vehicles “see,” a boon for Intel, which makes the chips used in many cars. Intel bought 84 percent of Mobileye’s shares and expects to see cars with the Intel-Mobileye technology on the road in 2018.

The tie-up comes as competitors like Qualcomm (which gained popularity during the advent of mobile phones) and Nvidia (which has ridden a wave of rising popularity of gaming devices) are also investing heavily in self-driving vehicles. It’s also a different direction for Mobileye, which had a public spat with Tesla last year.

Qualcomm announced last fall it would buy NXP Semiconductors in a $47 billion deal. And Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang gave an ambitious self-driving car demonstration earlier this year at technology tradeshow CES.

The chip company that ultimately corners this market stands to gain immensely.

Chips are already a crucial component in many vehicles, powering the growing suite of electronic devices in cars. But when self-driving car sensors must collect, analyze and transmit data about the outside world constantly, a powerful chip becomes much more critical.

That said, Intel is also faced with a challenge: Deciding how far to go in competing with some of its biggest customers, like Apple. Despite Intel’s rapid expansion into self-driving cars, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told CNBC that he doesn’t expect fully autonomous vehicles to completely take over for at least a generation.

“My two daughters’ children will never learn to drive,” Kranazich told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” on Tuesday.


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