Four years after Intel Corporation acquired Israel’s Mobileye for over $15 billion, the semiconductor giant said Tuesday that it was planning to make its Jerusalem-based subsidiary, a world leader in self-driving technologies, a public company in 2022 at a valuation of approximately $50 billion.
Intel made the announcement Tuesday, a day after it said it was acquiring Israeli company Screenovate in a deal estimated at $150 million.
Intel said the move would “unlock the value of Mobileye for Intel shareholders by creating a separate publicly traded company and will build on Mobileye’s successful track record and serve its expanded market.”
The multinational said Mobileye expects to deliver over 40 percent more revenue in 2021 compared to last year, through a number of products and programs in place with more than 30 automakers worldwide and other partners.
In the four years since the acquisition, Intel said, Mobileye has “experienced substantial revenue growth, achieved numerous technical innovations and made significant investments directed to solving the most difficult scientific and technology problems to prepare the deployment of autonomous driving at scale.”
Intel said it will remain the majority owner of Mobileye, and the two companies will continue working together as they “pursue the growth of computing in the automotive sector.” The Mobileye executive team will remain in place, with co-founder Amnon Shashua continuing as the company’s CEO.
Moovit, the Israeli transit tech company Intel bought last year for $900 million, and internal teams working on self-driving technologies will become “aligned as part of Mobileye,” Intel said.
The acquisition of Moovit enabled Intel to tap into a huge amount of data regarding transportation and transit in cities around the world, as Mobileye seeks to become a complete mobility provider, offering robotaxi services. Indeed, Mobileye and Moovit generate complementary data: the data that Mobileye generates relates to vehicles, while Moovit generates data about people on the move.
“Intel’s acquisition of Mobileye has been a great success,” said Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger. “Mobileye has achieved record revenue year-over-year with 2021 gains expected to be more than 40 percent higher than 2020, highlighting the powerful benefits to both companies of our ongoing partnership.”
Gelsinger said he and Shashua came to the conclusion that “an IPO provides the best opportunity to build on Mobileye’s track record for innovation and unlock value for shareholders.”
Founded in 1999, Mobileye went public in 2014 on the New York Stock Exchange before being acquired by Intel.
“Mobileye has realized accelerated growth and opportunity since joining the Intel family, nearly tripling annual chip shipments, revenue and the number of employees since the acquisition,” said Shashua.
“Our alignment with Intel continues to provide Mobileye with valuable technical resources and support that has yielded strong revenue along with free cash flow that allows us to fund our AV [autonomous vehicles] development work from current revenue. Intel and Mobileye’s ongoing technology co-development will continue to deliver great platform solutions for our customers.”
A final decision on the IPO and its conditions and timing will be made at a later time, Intel said.
Mobileye — a central part of Intel
Mobileye plays a key role in Intel’s global operations. Earlier this year, Intel said it was investing $400 million in a new R&D facility for Mobileye as it becomes the US giant’s hub for developing autonomous vehicle technologies.
Once the campus is built, Mobileye’s workforce is expected to grow to about 4,000 people.
“Mobileye is a major growth business that’s deemed to be a key part of Intel’s future,” the company has said.
This summer, Mobileye said it would roll out a pilot for autonomous taxis and ride-hailing services in Munich and Tel Aviv next year (pending regulatory approval). Mobileye will own the fleet of vehicles — which it calls “robotaxis” — powered by the company’s fully integrated self-driving system, dubbed Mobileye Drive, and developed specifically for commercial, driverless ride-hailing services. Riders will be able to access the service on the app developed by Moovit.
Mobileye began testing autonomous vehicles in Munich last summer, after obtaining an AV testing permit recommendation from the country’s independent technical service provider TÜV SÜD. It was the first city in Europe to approve the pilot, which built on Mobileye’s existing program in Israel where the company has been testing self-driving vehicles since 2018.
There are also self-driving pilot projects in Detroit, New York City, and Tokyo, as well as plans to begin testing in Paris.
Mobileye’s self-driving system, Mobileye Drive, comprises an advanced vision sensing technology with 11 cameras, crowd-sourced mapping technology (called Road Experience Management, or REM) that creates high-definition maps of road infrastructures worldwide to serve as a basis for safe autonomous driving, and a driving policy dubbed Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS) to ensure consistency across countries and driving cultures.
Mobileye gathers data for its maps through consumer vehicles already on the road and equipped with Mobileye’s EyeQ4 driving assistance system. Shashua has called these maps “like gold.”
Separately, Mobileye also has a number of running partnerships to supply self-driving systems to California delivery startup Udelv, which plans to have a fleet of autonomous delivery vehicles on the roads within two years, and with two French-based firms to jointly develop and deploy commercial autonomous shuttles for public transportation services in Europe in 2023.