The driverless tech scene is about to get a lot more interesting soon, as Intel just grabbed Mobileye in a surprise acquisition that could spell trouble for Tesla and Nvidia.
Intel officially confirmed its acquisition of Israeli technology firm Mobileye in a massive $15.3 billion deal that could prove to be a game changer for the driverless car sector.
Mobileye is well-known in the industry for its camera sensors, as well as software for self-driving cars. Its fallout with Tesla made the news last year, but the newfound bond with Intel is now getting even more traction.
Intel And Mobileye Gunning For Tesla, Nvidia
The self-driving car race has been gradually heating up and competition now seems fiercer than ever, with the Intel and Mobileye team expected to challenge Tesla and Nvidia to the core.
For a bit of context, Mobileye already has a number of heavyweight players as its customers, including BMW, General Motors, Hyundai and Nissan. These customers alone made up a whopping 57 percent of sales directly to automakers last year.
Nvidia, meanwhile, may be best known as a graphics chips maker, but it's been dipping its toes into the driverless car technology pool as well. Its customers include Audi, Volkswagen (which is also a Mobileye customer), Daimler and others.
When Tesla had that fallout with Mobileye last year, it adopted Nvidia's Drive PX 2 platform. For those unfamiliar with the whole debacle, Mobileye and Tesla split ways after a Model S driver died in a car crash while on Tesla's autopilot mode.
That accident marked the first fatal Tesla car crash and prompted an extensive investigation to figure out what went wrong. Tesla and Mobileye have been at odds ever since, shifting blame regarding what part of the driverless technology was most responsible for the accident.
It already seemed unlikely that Tesla and Mobileye would renew their collaboration anytime soon, but the new alliance between Mobileye and Intel could take the competition to the next level.
"The pricey acquisition of Mobileye could propel the world's largest computer chipmaker into the front ranks of automotive suppliers at a time when Intel has been reaching for market beyond its core computer semiconductor business," Reuters highlights.
The Driverless Car Race Is On
Both Tesla and Nvidia will likely face some stiff competition with Mobileye now under Intel's umbrella, but Intel doesn't have a smooth road ahead of it either. The driverless tech sector is more competitive than ever and it's increasingly getting more crowded, with more players joining the race and ramping up their efforts.
At the same time, while it's obvious that this new alliance Intel forged with Mobileye will increase competition in the sector, Tesla and Nvidia may not be the ones to worry. As CNN points out, some investors favor Nvidia and Tesla's Elon Musk, so Intel may have an uphill battle to assert itself as a fierce competitor.
Nevertheless, Intel's acquisition of Mobileye is mainly seen as further proof that the autonomous driving sector is advancing and expanding, and it will be interesting to see how things will pan out in the future. Greater competition should drive greater innovation and things already look promising.