Brian Krzanich, the chipmaker's CEO, said Tuesday at the LA Auto Show that the company's investment arm, Intel Capital, plans to make more than $250 million in new investments over the next two years "to make fully autonomous driving a reality."
In particular, Intel will look at technology that will drive internet of things innovation in transportation; technology that can "directly mitigate risks while improving safety, mobility, and efficiency at a reduced cost;" and companies that use data to make automated driving systems more reliable.
Autonomous car technology has become a big focus for companies such as Google and Uber. And for chipmakers, the move to make cars smarter opens up a new batch of customers. Nvidia has benefited as a key Tesla chip supplier, while Qualcomm plans to buy auto chip supplier NXP for $39 billion. It's vital for Intel to make sure it doesn't miss out on the market like it largely did with smartphones.
Intel's automotive business is involved in 30 vehicle programs on the road currently, according to The Wall Street Journal, and is slated to increase that number to 49 by 2020 with orders worth $1 billion.