Mobileye teams up with China carmaker to develop self-driving vehicles

China’s NIO will mass produce automated and autonomous vehicles integrating Mobileye’s technology; Mobileye ‘critical part of Intel’s future,’ Intel CFO says at investor event

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Cars in the Mobileye fleet of autonomous vehicles leave the Mobileye garage for test drives November 5, 2019, as part of the 2019 Mobileye Investor Summit. (Walden Kirsch/Intel Corporation)
Cars in the Mobileye fleet of autonomous vehicles leave the Mobileye garage for test drives November 5, 2019, as part of the 2019 Mobileye Investor Summit. (Walden Kirsch/Intel Corporation)

Mobileye, a Jerusalem-based maker of technologies for self-driving cars, is teaming up with China’s electric car maker NIO to develop automated and autonomous vehicles for consumers in China and other territories.

As part of the agreement between the parties, NIO will engineer and manufacture a self-driving system designed by Mobileye. This self-driving system “would be the first of its kind,” seeking to create high-quality autonomous vehicles at reasonable costs and at scale, Mobileye announced at an investor conference held in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

NIO will mass produce the system for Mobileye and integrate its Level 4 Autonomous Vehicle technology into its electric vehicle lines for consumer markets and into cars that will be supplied for Mobileye’s driverless ride-hailing services, the firm said in a statement. Mobileye’s Level 4 technology kit is a driverless technology solution that is meant to be integrated in cars with autonomous capabilities that help minimize automobile accidents. At the basis of the technology is Mobileye’s EyeQ chip.

The products will be sold initially in China, with expansion to other global markets at a later stage.

Prof. Amnon Shashua, President and CEO of Mobileye, speaks Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, at the 2019 Mobileye Investor Summit. Mobileye, an Intel company, hosts its 2019 Investor Summit at its headquarters in Jerusalem. (Walden Kirsch/Intel Corporation)

Mobileye was acquired by Intel Corp. in 2017 for a whopping $15.3 billion. At the investor event Tuesday, Prof. Amnon Shashua, Intel senior vice president and president and CEO of Mobileye, said that in the third quarter of the year the Israeli firm posted 20 percent revenue growth, year on year, to some $900 million, amid greater sales of its advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).

The partnership with NIO is significant because it will make Mobileye’s self-driving system “accessible to mass markets, further extending the reach of its autonomous vehicle innovation to automotive customers on a global scale,” the statement said.

The agreement also marks the first large-scale automaker partner supplying vehicles to Mobileye, as the company builds a global commercial robotaxi fleet. Mobileye said in July that its self-driving venture will start initially with a fleet of robotaxis rather than private vehicles.

The team-up with Mobileye will help NIO “maintain its leading-edge position in the premium electric vehicle market,” with cars that are safer and powered by advanced driver-assistance systems technologies and with some degree of autonomy, the statement said.

“We value the opportunity to bring greater road safety to China and other markets through our efforts, and look forward to NIO’s support as Mobileye builds a transformational mobility service across the globe,” Mobileye’s Shashua said in the statement.

Shashua said that by end 2019 Mobileye will have shipped more than 50 million EyeQ chips globally since 2008, and its ADAS systems have been adopted in more than 300 car models.

At the summit, Intel CFO George Davis said Mobileye was one of Intel’s “biggest bets” and that the Israeli firm is “a critical part of Intel’s future.” Mobileye “is now Intel’s fastest growing business on an annualized basis,” the statement said.

Most Popular
read more: