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Intel Confirms $900 Million Moovit Buy In Smart Mobility Play

"Mobileye’s [advanced driver assistance systems] technology is already improving the safety of millions of cars on the road, and Moovit accelerates their ability to truly revolutionize transportation — reducing congestion and saving lives — as a full-stack mobility provider,' Intel CEO Bob Swan says.

Intel said it has acquired Moovit for roughly $900 million, confirming earlier reports that the chipmaker was nearing a deal to scoop up the Israeli mobility-as-a-service provider.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said that its acquisition of Moovit, which provides a real-time public transit app, brings the chipmaker's Mobileye automotive technology division closer to its goal of becoming a "complete mobility provider" whose market is estimated to reach $160 billion by 2030. Because of Intel's previous stake in Moovit through Intel Capital, the company said the value of the deal is $840 million net of the venture arm's equity gain.

[Related: Nvidia Plans To Buy Cumulus Networks In Networking Software Play]

The move comes as Intel continues to pivot its brand away from being a provider of computer chips for PCs and servers to a data-centric company that provides software and hardware across several areas, including artificial intelligence, data centers, IoT and mobility.

"Intel’s purpose is to create world-changing technology that enriches the lives of every person on Earth, and our Mobileye team delivers on that purpose every day," Bob Swan, CEO of Intel, said in a statement. "Mobileye’s [advanced driver assistance systems] technology is already improving the safety of millions of cars on the road, and Moovit accelerates their ability to truly revolutionize transportation — reducing congestion and saving lives — as a full-stack mobility provider."

Intel said Moovit's urban mobility app, which has more than 800 million users and services in 3,100 cities across 102 countries, offers "multimodal trip planning by combining public transportation, bicycle and scooter services, ride-hailing, and car-sharing." Through Mobileye, Intel has already been chasing two areas that Moovit serves — ride-hailing and car-sharing — with its development of a self-driving system for shuttles and robo-taxis, among other kinds of vehicles.

The chipmaker said Mobileye will use the large proprietary transportation dataset Moovit uses for its mobility app to "optimize predictive technologies based on customer demand and traffic partners." At the same time, Moovit's consumer app will continue to operate as its own brand.

"We are excited to join forces with Mobileye and lead the future revolution of new mobility services. Mobility is a basic human right, and as cities become more crowded, urban mobility becomes more difficult," Nir Erez, Moovit co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. "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."

The Moovit acquisition marks the third billion-dollar-plus acquisition of an Israeli company in the last three years for Intel following the company's $2 billion acquisition of Habana Labs in December and $15.3 billion acquisition of Mobileye in 2017. Like the recent Habana Labs deal, Intel had already owned shares in Moovit through its venture arm, Intel Capital.

Dominic Daninger, vice president of Nor-Tech, a Burnsville, Minn.-based Intel high-performance computing partner, said Intel's latest acquisition is a "smart move" that will help ensure it won't miss out on another major market opportunity like it did with smartphones.

"If you look at mobile, Intel missed out on a good portion of that over the years, and I think this might be a move to prevent something like that in the future, but this time with autonomous vehicles," he said.

With the coronavirus pandemic disrupting demand for public transit and other methods of commuting, Daninger said it will be interesting to see what the market will look like when the crisis subsides.

"A couple years from now, it could be a completely different situation," he said.

But the move does set up Intel to be a bigger player in the autonomous vehicle and mobility markets, Daninger added, whatever they may look like in the future.

"The car might get Driver A to work and then it will take off and go do some autonomous taxi business, getting other people to various destinations and then come back when it's time to pick up Driver A and shuttle them home," he said. "It will be some combination of all that, I'm sure."

While the Moovit acquisition likely won't have a direct impact on the IT channel in the same way it didn't with Mobileye, Daninger said the rise of autonomous driving and mobility services will increase the demand for data center infrastructure.

"You need a data center to aggregate all that and make the overall decisions. even when we get into a lot more autonomous driving, where there's going to be some intelligence doing routing or re-routing and congestion control and things like that," he said.

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