Intel Snaps Up Moovit

Acquisition of urban mobility company boosts its Mobileye business

On Monday, Intel announced the acquisition of Moovit, an Israeli company that provides a public transit app, for about $900 million. The move is expected to help Intel develop self-driving taxis. With this acquisition, Intel extends its position as a major player in the race to create the technology needed to build fleets of taxis that will be able to transport passengers without a human driver behind the wheel.

Founded in 2012, Moovit is based in Tel Aviv and has about 200 employees. The company has built a leadership position in the mobility-as-a service space and is popular for helping commuters and tourists find the best way to a destination by showing them bus and train routes, bike paths and car-sharing options.

Moovit’s mobile app aggregates data from transit partners and organizations, as well as from its millions of active users, who generate more than 6 billion data points each day about traffic flow and user demand. Moovit provides traffic data to third parties, including Intel, Uber and several transport authorities. It has more than 800 million users and it’s operational in 3,100 cities in 102 countries. Moovit’s app will continue to be available under its own brand after the deal closes.

Intel will use Moovit’s technology and information available through its partnerships to expand the services it offers through Mobileye — the anchor of its efforts in the automotive sector that enables advanced driver-assistance systems deployed on nearly 60 million vehicles, with more than 25 car-maker partners. Mobileye can then use this data to push its automated taxi services as part of Moovit’s trip-planner offering. For example, commuters may see that the best way to get to their office is to take a driverless taxi from their home to the station, and from there get a train to their destination. Intel acquired Mobileye, which develops technologies for autonomous cars, for $15.3 billion in 2017 (see Intel’s Big Bet on Self-Driving Cars).

The acquisition is a long-term investment for Intel. Truly autonomous driving is still years away and will rely on a blend of technologies rather than a single approach. The timing of Intel’s move is curious: the acquisition underscores how Intel is building up its autonomous car business at a time when many other investments in autonomous driving have been put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. Beyond autonomous cars, Moovit also starts to position Intel for a bigger role in the broader evolution of transportation.

It’s encouraging that Intel is upping the ante on autonomous transportation at a time when many other companies are bracing for an extended economic downturn and much of the world is standing still. There are opportunities on the other side of the ongoing crisis, and Intel wants to be first to reach them.