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Israel’s Mobileye: self-driving tech for 8 million cars

Israel’s Mobileye, a maker of self-driving car technologies, has signed a deal to supply its advanced systems for eight million cars produced by a European automaker, Intel Corp. confirmed on Thursday. In an email to The Times of Israel, a spokesman for Intel said that the deal is for Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) with advanced capabilities. The eight million units will be supplied over the life of the contract, which is typically five years in the automaker sector.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Mobileye was acquiredlast year by Intel Corp. for a whopping $15.3 billion, and is spearheading Intel’s push in the autonomous vehicles sector. 

The deal would be the largest yet for Mobileye, Reuters said, and envisages the Jerusalem-based company supplying the European carmaker with its EyeQ5 chips, for advanced driver assisted systems, starting in 2021, when the chips will be launched. The chips will be an upgrade of the EyeQ4 chips that will be rolled out in the coming weeks, Erez Dagan, a senior vice president for advanced development and strategy at Mobileye, told Reuters.

The new system will be made available for a variety of the automaker’s car models that will have only partial automation — where the car is self-driving, but needs the vigilance of a driver — as well as models integrating a more advanced system of conditional automation, the Reuters report said.

As interest in self-driving cars rises, Intel and Mobileye face stiff competition from players including Uber, Tesla and Mercedes-Benz to get fully autonomous vehicles on the road by 2019.

Mobileye is a developer of chips for car cameras and driver-assistance features. In January, Intel and Mobileye unveiled their first autonomous car, equipped with 12 cameras and sensors that enable the cars to navigate the traffic by providing the vehicle with different fields of view.

Earlier this month, Prof. Amnon Shashua, the co-founder and CEO of Mobileye, said the company has started testing its self-driving cars on highways around Jerusalem in recent months. The cars drive completely autonomously and are driving every day, he said.

Mobileye is working with automakers like General Motors — for its Super Cruise system — Nissan, Audi, BMW, Honda, Fiat Chrysler and China’s Nio, to supply them with its Level 3 technologies by next year, the Reuters report said.

There are some 27 million cars on the road from 25 automakers that use some sort of driver assistance system and Mobileye has a market share of more than 70 percent, the company told Reuters.

“By the end of 2019, we expect over 100,000 Level 3 cars with Mobileye installed,” Shashua told Reuters.