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Intel’s planned acquisition of Mobileye has raised the bar for the largest auto tech deal to date (Mobileye’s 2014 IPO also owns the title of biggest VC-backed exit in the space).
Auto tech startups working in computer sensing and vision are already red-hot, with companies developing lower-cost and/or higher-fidelity tech seeing deals every month. LiDAR demand has skyrocketed, with self-driving developers reportedly facing six-month waits for new devices (see the blurb below).
Tech companies across the spectrum are looking to muscle their way into supplying vehicles of the future, from connected car to autonomous driving hardware and software. Samsung just completed its own acquisition of Harman this week, while Qualcomm and NXP’s tie-up is also pending.
The Mobileye deal follows Intel’s formation of its Autonomous Driving Group and $250M commitment to auto tech startups through Intel Capital. The companies were linked by previous alliances (one with BMW and another with Delphi); it was from these partnerships that discussions around the acquisition began.
Having largely missed the boat on mobile, Intel is aggressively seeking future growth channels, making deals to bulk up in mapping, VR, AI, and more.
The next big screen
This week augmented reality navigation startup WayRay saw a $18M investment from Alibaba and SAIC Motor. A Ford patent application we surfaced today also described a conceptually similar windscreen-based navigation and media entertainment system.
Besides the automakers and tech companies looking to supply this tech, the convergence of autonomous driving and augmented- and mixed-reality technology will also open new doors for advertisers and media providers.