Automotive Silicon Spurs Intel’s Mobileye IPO

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Intel Corp. will spin off its Mobileye self-driving automotive unit, taking it public sometime in 2022. Mobileye’s initial public offering would enable Intel to further capitalize its current investments in automotive silicon, analysts note.

Intel reported net revenues of $326 million during its third quarter, a 39 percent increase over the same period last year. That growth undoubtedly prompted the chipmaker to take its autonomous driving unit public.

Mobileye’s IPO valuation could reach over $50 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. Intel plans to maintain majority ownership of Mobileye. Reports of Mobileye’s intended IPO led to an increase in Intel shares to 7.9 percent last week – the company’s largest intra-day gain since January.

Intel acquired Mobileye in 2017 for $15 billion, and the autonomous driving subsidiary has since maintained a positive revenue trajectory. Mobileye recently shipped its 100-millionth EyeQ system-on-chip while scaling it autonomous vehicle test programs across multiple cities. It also unveiled a production robotaxi and secured 41 new ADAS program wins, according to Intel.

Guidehouse Insights reported Mobileye currently holds about 80 percent of the global ADAS market. Interest in Mobileye’s lidar SoC, first revealed at CES 2021, continues to build as automakers move to advance detection features within vehicles.

Mobileye’s CEO Amnon Shashua unveiled the company’s first lidar SoC prototype earlier this year. A finished device isn’t expected to be ready until 2025. The SoC is designed to address challenges such as range limitations and interference.

Mobileye’s lidar chip would provide automakers with three levels of redundancy in the forward-facing field of view and two levels of redundancy for the remaining field, according to a company fact sheet.

Intel’s photonics lab is supporting Mobileye’s lidar SoC development. “The backing of Intel and the trinity of our approach means that Mobileye can scale at an unprecedented manner,” Shashua asserted.

Intel isn’t new to silicon photonics production. Its photonics lab is currently ramping product of its photonics transceivers, including its 200 Gb/s FR4 and 400 Gb/s DR4. Mobileye’s advancesin automotive silicon, however, opens the door for Intel to capitalize on demand for auto electronics.

“Intel’s long-term commitment to the automotive market is underscored by recently announced programs, including the Intel Foundry Services Accelerator and dedicated capacity for the automotive industry,” the chipmaker noted in announcing the spin off.

Observers remain skeptical, however, as several autonomous vehicle companies have gone public this past year with less than stellar results. For example, Aurora Innovations launched an IPO on Nov. 4, but the company reports it expects to continually lose money until 2027. Indeed, startups have struggled with technology and schedule challenges, observers note.

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