In the wake of a series of reports over the weekend, Intel today confirmed its latest decision to develop its automotive division. The chip giant is acquiring Moovit, an Israeli start-up previously supported by Intel that analyzes urban traffic patterns and provides transportation recommendations with a particular focus on public transit. The agreement promotes Moovit at $ 900 million, although Intel says the growth in its existing stake in the startup does mean that Intel will pay $ 840 million in the transaction.
Moovit provides traffic data to third parties – including Intel itself, Uber and 7,500 transit authorities – and it also has a popular app with 800 million users worldwide. Intel has confirmed to me that all existing services will continue, but plans to use Moovit technology to extend the services it offers via Mobileye, the autonomous car maker that Intel acquired for $ 15.3 billion. dollars in 2017, which is the anchor of its efforts in the automotive sector.
Specifically, Moovit’s technology will be used to expand and improve Mobileye’s “mobility as a service” (MaaS) offering, said Intel. Mobileye’s driver assistance technology is found in some 60 million vehicles today, and while many autonomous services like “robotaxis” are still in their nascent phase, the opportunities are great: Intel estimates that robotaxis alone will represent a market of 160 billion
“Intel’s goal is to create revolutionary technology that enriches the lives of everyone on Earth, and our Mobileye team is doing it every day,” said Bob Swan, CEO of Intel, in a statement. “Mobileye’s ADAS technology is already improving the safety of millions of cars on the road, and Moovit is accelerating their ability to truly revolutionize transportation – by reducing congestion and saving lives – as a full mobility provider.”
Mobileye and Moovit had already worked together before the acquisition: Intel had been a strategic investor in the startup under this agreement, Professor Amnon Shashua, Intel senior vice president and CEO / CTO of Mobileye, was on MoovitThe Board of Directors as an observer.
The deal is interesting not only because it highlights how Intel is doubling its autonomous car business, but because it does so at a time when a number of other automakers and autonomous efforts are being halted or halted due to the global economic slowdown resulting from COVID-19. They included Ford postponing its autonomous vehicle service until 2022; and Waymo and Voyage suspend services.
“While others working on AV R&D can slow or reduce their ambitions given the headwinds of our economy, we saw an opportunity to acquire a valuable asset that will help us realize our vision for driverless MaaS yet faster, “said Shashua in a blog post. .
On the transportation side, many people around the world are asked to limit their movements to slow the spread of COVID-19 cases in what has become a global pandemic; and in part because of this same public health crisis, the global economy has experienced a major slowdown. The two have had a direct impact on the automotive world, which sees not only a shift in ambitious next-generation strategies, but also more significant shutdowns in all automotive production, both to contain the spread of the coronavirus and to meet the sharp drop in demand purchases.
On the technology side, all large and small businesses have been working on optimizing their assets as optimally as possible to help get things done (so to speak). This has also happened specifically in the world of transportation startups.
Moovit says consumer usage will drop dramatically with fewer commutes, but at the same time the company has launched a series of COVID-19 services to help customers who still need to keep things operational and who must always give their users data and transport options to go from A to B.
These have included a special service for transit data managers (which it offers free of charge, unlike its normal B2B products) to both receive updated transit and traffic data and set up by the following ‘thousands of short term changes quickly, allowing users to plan trips with only valid updated routes. “
Moovit has also launched a real-time service for users of its application to ensure that they receive these alerts. Third, it launched an “on-demand emergency mobilization” service that allows transportation managers to redeploy buses more quickly on routes to better serve essential workers who still use public transportation.
As we pointed out yesterday, it is not at all clear if Moovit had worked to raise more money, or if he had felt the same pinch that so many other startups have felt regarding the conclusion contracts right now, or if Intel’s offer was too good to be turned down right now, or even if it was on the table before COVID-19. In any case, it is a complementary complement that will not face the classic problems of integrating teams that have never worked together before, given the existing relationship.
“We are delighted to partner with Mobileye and lead the future revolution in new mobility
“Nir Erez, co-founder and CEO of Moovit, said in a statement. “Mobility is a basic human right, and as cities become more populated, urban mobility becomes more difficult. By combining the daily habits and mobility needs of millions of Moovit users with the advanced, safe, affordable and eco-friendly transportation made possible by autonomous vehicles, we will be able to make cities better places. or live. We share this vision and look forward to making it happen as part of Mobileye. “