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Intel acquiring Mobileye's self-driving car technology in $15 billion deal

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Intel is acquiring Mobileye, a company that specializes in chips for vision-based autonomous vehicles. The Marker and Axios first reported the deal, valued at $15.3 billion, and it will see Intel take over some key technology for its ambitions to lead autonomous cars. BMW, Intel, and Mobileye have all partnered to deploy 40 autonomous vehicles for testing on public roads later this year. Intel and Mobileye’s technology is to be tested on roads in the US and Europe.

Intel’s acquisition of Mobileye was officially confirmed this morning, and it will mark a huge investment in self-driving cars for the chip company. Intel previously said it will spend $250 million over the next two years toward the development of autonomous vehicles, but a $15 billion deal is far more significant.

"The acquisition of Mobileye brings together the assets of Intel’s Xeon processors, FPGAs, 3D XPoint memory, and 5G modems with the world leader in automotive computer vision," says Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. "This acquisition essentially merges the intelligent eyes of the autonomous car with the intelligent brain that actually drives the car."

Mobileye has been developing systems and chips to help vehicles navigate autonomously and provide warnings for collisions. Tesla originally used Mobileye chips for its autopilot system, but severed ties with the company after a fatal accident where Mobileye’s technology was unable to distinguish between a laterally crossing truck and the sky behind it.

Intel’s interest in Mobileye could help it against competitors like Nvidia and Qualcomm. Both chip makers have been investing in vehicles, and Intel appears to be paying a premium to catch up and push forward with its autonomous vehicle plans.

Update, 7:40AM ET: Article updated with confirmation of Intel's Mobileye acquisition.