As Intel continues moving away from processors and desktops toward emerging technologies, its purchase of the Israeli mobility-as-a-service company signals a long-term interest in mobility data and self-driving cars.
Intel Corp. makes processors, Mobileye makes sensors, and Moovit has mobility data. Now all three are under Intel’s roof, collaborating on technology for autonomous vehicles.
Intel acquired Moovit for $900 million, according to a news release this week, for the purpose of using Moovit’s proprietary data to improve sensors and algorithms being developed by Mobileye, an Israeli company that Intel bought for $15.3 billion in 2017. Moovit, also an Israeli company, was founded in 2012 as a mobility-as-a-service provider, a trip planner that combines information from public transit authorities with live information from users of mobility services to tell people, in real time, their fastest options to get where they’re going. It suggests routes that combine public transportation, bicycle and scooter services, ride-hailing and car-sharing, depending on traffic and availability.
One of the obstacles for governments working with mobility software has been a responsible handling of data, and Moovit has made that a selling point. Yovav Meydad, the company’s chief growth and marketing officer, told Government Technology last year that Moovit had the world’s largest transit data repository, but it only stores analytics related to transit usage and doesn’t collect private information such as age or gender. Intel’s news release said that with access to this database, amassed over years of working with more than 7,500 agencies and operators, Mobileye will be able to improve its predictive algorithms for self-driving vehicles.
“The addition of Moovit brings Intel’s Mobileye closer to achieving its plan to become a complete mobility provider, including robotaxi services, which is forecast to be an estimated $160-billion opportunity by 2030,” the news release said.
Moovit, with approximately 200 employees and more than 800 million users and services in 3,100 cities across 102 countries worldwide, will join the Mobileye business while retaining its brand, consumer applications and existing partnerships. Those include Microsoft, Uber and other ride-sharing operators and mobility ecosystem companies that share analytics, routing and other support for their MaaS.
“Moovit’s massive global user base, proprietary transportation data, global editors community, strong partnerships with key transit and mobility ecosystem partners and highly skilled team is what makes them a great investment,” Mobileye’s CEO Amnon Shashua said in a statement. “Together, with Mobileye’s extensive capabilities in mapping and self-driving technology, we will be able to accelerate our timeline to transform the future of mobility.”
Moovit’s CEO Nir Erez said in a statement that mobility is a basic human right, and autonomous vehicles are part of its future.
“As cities become more crowded, urban mobility becomes more difficult,” he said. “Combining the daily mobility habits and needs of millions of Moovit users with the state-of-the-art, safe, affordable and eco-friendly transportation enabled by self-driving vehicles, we will be able to make cities better places to live in.”
That Intel spent almost $1 billion on a company to strengthen Mobileye’s work reinforces how important that subsidiary is to Intel’s business model going forward. Since its acquisition three years ago, according to Intel’s news release, Mobileye has seen its revenues more than double on the increased adoption of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), which it has deployed on almost 60 million vehicles with more than 25 automaker partners.
As the PC market shrank with the rise of smartphones, tablets and cloud computing, Intel has been investing and expanding into other markets, including ADAS, data and MaaS technologies. It also announced last month that it would be focusing more on public-sector sales than in the past.