Chip maker Intel has announced completion of the $15.3 billion acquisition of Mobileye that we first learned about back in March. And it's wasting no time putting its shiny new technology to use, announcing that it will build 100 Mobileye-equipped Level 4 self-driving cars.
The first cars in the test fleet will be ready before this year is out. They will combine Intel's computing power and 5G wireless technology with Mobileye's mapping and sensing, along with its driving gear.
The deal aims to propel Intel, the world's largest computer chipmaker, into the top ranks of automotive suppliers. Intel is working with BMW, China's Baidu, and other automotive partners. No word on whether the test fleet will be BMWs. The deal also promises to put Intel into direct competition with Qualcomm, the world's top maker of smartphone chips, which is seeking to acquire NXP Semiconductors, a top auto chips maker.
For a fascinating look at the broad scope of companies working on self-driving, check out this interactive graphic and this overview story from earlier this week.
The cars will be tested on the roads of Europe and Israel. Jerusalem-based Mobileye is the world's largest supplier of systems used in automotive collision detection systems.
"Leading in autonomous driving technology requires a combination of innovative proprietary software products and versatile open-system hardware platforms that enable customers and partners to customize solutions," said Amnon Shashua. "For the first time, the auto industry has a single partner with deep expertise and a cultural legacy in both areas. Mobileye is very excited to begin this new chapter."
Ziv Aviram, Mobileye's president and CEO, will be out of the picture as Intel takes control.
Intel has extended its offer to buy out remaining shareholders of Mobileye NV after securing 84 percent of the acquisition target's shares, the two companies said. The offer will expire Aug. 21 but could be extended.
In an effort to persuade any investor holdouts to tender their remaining shares, Mobileye said it had submitted notice to the New York Stock Exchange of plans to delist its shares, which could occur as early as the end of the month.
Material from Reuters was used in this report.