Autonomous vehicles

Mobileye, a profitable autonomous driving company, files for IPO

The Intel-owned unit netted $460 million last year, on ~$1.4 billion in revenue.
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Mobileye

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Mobileye, Intel’s autonomous-vehicle unit, is officially going public…eventually.

The company, which Intel acquired for ~$15 billion in 2017, confidentially filed its S-1, Intel announced on Monday. Intel initially announced its intentions to take the unit public in December, and it expects to retain majority ownership post-IPO.

Why it matters: Mobileye is a rare autonomous-vehicle company with an already promising business model, generating not only revenue but that ever-elusive financial metric: profit.

  • In 2021, Mobileye's operating income was $460 million, and it made just under $1.4 billion in revenue. Its 2020 operating income was ~$240 million, and it was also in the green the previous two years.
  • For comparison, Aurora, an autonomous-vehicle company that SPAC’d in November, had revenue of $82.5 million in 2021 but net losses of $755 million.

Mobileye’s mojo: Mobileye’s business success is in part because it isn’t waiting to perfect L4 or L5 autonomy before monetizing its tech. The company sells advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), which enables things like smart braking or object detection, to automakers like VW, Nissan, and BMW.

  • Once upon a time, it even supplied ADAS tech to Tesla.

Mobileye claims its ADAS is in 60+ million vehicles today, and says it uses this revenue stream to fund its attempts to achieve full autonomy. Mobileye is testing its self-driving platform in Detroit, Munich, New York City, and in Israel, where it was founded.

  • The company takes a twin approach to autonomy: It’s attempting to build an autonomous vehicle that can function with a camera alone, à la Tesla, and also creating a radar- and lidar-based AV. The plan is to eventually combine these systems into an AV packed to the brim with the good kind of redundancies.
  • It’s not unusual for AV-makers to use all three of these vision technologies—camera, lidar, and radar—but the approach of building two fully independent systems is.

Looking ahead…The Wall Street Journal reported in December that the company could fetch up to a $50 billion valuation, and Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said at the time that the company would use some of the cash from the transaction to fund the buildout of semiconductor plants.

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