Intel on Monday announced plans to take Mobileye public.
Intel acquired the Israeli self-driving technology company in 2017 in a $15.3 billion deal, and has since helped grow it to become a market leader in driver-assistance and self-driving systems.
Mobileye has supply contracts with more than 30 automotive companies and has achieved record revenues year-over-year since Intel's acquisition, with 2021's revenues expected to be 40% higher than in 2020.
Intel now plans an initial public offering for Mobileye and will remain its biggest shareholder at the conclusion of the deal. The two companies will also remain strategic partners, and Mobileye will continue to be led by its existing management team, which includes company founder Amnon Shashua.
A final decision on the IPO and its timing is pending and subject to market conditions, Intel said.
Mobileye's main product is its EyeQ computer chip designed to gather and process information taken from numerous onboard sensors such as cameras, radar and lidar, and which automakers use for driver-assist features. However, Mobileye is also using the chip to develop self-driving technology. The company is testing prototypes all over the globe and plans to launch a self-driving taxi service in Germany in 2022.
Mobileye's self-driving system, known as Mobileye Drive, is ranked at Level 4 on the SAE scale of self-driving capability. This means it can operate without a driver in select conditions. The conditions usually include operating within a pre-determined, sufficiently mapped area, known as geo-fencing. They can also include weather restrictions. The ultimate goal is a Level 5 car which will be able to handle the same conditions expected of a human.
Over the past year a string of electric-vehicle startups have all gone public. Some have been quite successful, such as the IPO of Rivian and the SPAC deal of Lucid. Should the IPO of Mobileye prove successful, we're likely to see a wave of rival self-driving technology companies go public. Some contenders include Ford and Volkswagen Group's Argo AI and General Motors' Cruise.