Intel buys Moovit app for $ 900 million to develop robotaxis.
Intel has announced the purchase of the Israeli transport app Moovit for 900 million dollars (825 million euros) to jointly develop a robotaxiss service without a driver that could hit the streets in early 2022. The price paid almost doubles the app’s $ 500 million valuation in its latest funding round in 2018.
Although Moovit will remain independent as a company, its technology and the data it collects from more than 800 million users in 102 countries will be integrated into Intel’s driverless vehicle division in Israel, Mobileye.
“The purchase of Moovit will fill some very relevant gaps in which we have been making progress,” Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua told Reuters, stating that the goal was to have a small fleet of driverless taxis in countries like Israel, France and South Korea.
Moovit is known among users for helping tourists find the best way to reach their destination by offering them the best routes using public transport, bicycle or carsharing.
Once it integrates with Mobileye, the application will allow requesting robotaxis and the data available in real time will allow vehicles to be in the places of greatest demand, Shashua explained.
Intel expects the robotaxis market to reach $ 160 billion by 2030. The multinational has decided to carry out the purchase now, in the midst of an international economic slowdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, due to the capacity of Mobileye to more accurately predict when its technology will be ready, he said. And the goal for this is the year 2022.
“For a company like Intel, which is very clear about its future plans, the coronoavirus should not be a problem. On the contrary, you have to look at the crisis and look for opportunities,” Shashua stressed.
Moovit has raised $ 133 million from investors such as Intel, BMW iVentures and Sequoia Capital. In 2018, it raised $ 50 million in a funding round led by Intel Capital. It is also not the first time that the microchip manufacturer has invested in Israel: in 2017, it acquired Mobileye for $ 15.3 billion and last December, the artificial intelligence firm Habana Labs for $ 2 billion.