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OM in the News: Intel, Mobileye, and Autonomous Cars

March 23, 2017

In the world of driverless cars, household names like Google and Uber have raced ahead of rivals, building test vehicles and starting trials on city streets. “But when it comes to what is under the hood, an array of lesser-known companies will most likely supply the technology required to bring driverless cars to the masses,” writes The New York Times (March 14, 2017). And in a $15.3 billion deal to acquire the Israeli firm Mobileye, Intel just moved to corner the market on how much of that technology is developed. Jerusalem-based Mobileye makes sensors and cameras for these vehicles.

Intel estimates the market for autonomous-driving systems, services and data will reach $70 billion by 2030. “You can think of the car as a server on wheels,” says Intel’s CEO. “The average autonomous car will throw out 4 terabytes of data a day, so this is one of the most important markets and one of the fastest-growing markets. The deal with Mobileye merges the intelligent eyes of the autonomous car with the intelligent brain that actually drives the car.”

 Mobileye’s technology helps a car see and understand the space around it, providing functions such as automatically keeping a car in its lane. It includes 360-degree vision and mapping, and integrates various sensor elements such as cameras, radar, sonar and the laser-sensing technology known as LiDAR. 

Intel has struggled lately with the persistent decline of PC sales, which show little sign of reversing. To drive growth, the company is focusing on artificial intelligence, and self-driving cars are among the more promising applications of AI.

Classroom discussion questions:

  1. Why is Intel leaving its core business? Advantages? Disadvantages?
  2. What is Mobileye’s strength?
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