Qualcomm to acquire Israeli hi-tech firm Autotalks for $350m.


Chip designer Qualcomm said on Monday that it would acquire Autotalks, an Israeli company that produces chips for technology designed to prevent vehicle crashes.

 The financial details of the deal were not disclosed; however, the market capitalization of Qualcomm, which exceeds $120 billion, suggests that the acquisition of Autotalks is estimated to have cost between $350 million-$400m.

This puts Autotalks among other impressive Israeli start-up exits from the past decade, including Waze’s $1.1 billion acquisition by Google in 2013, Mobilieye’s $15.3b. acquisition by Intel in 2017 and Mellanox’s $6.9b. acquisition by Nvidia in 2019.

What is the Israeli firm Autotalks?

Autotalks is a fabless semiconductor company that has been dedicated to vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications since 2009. The company provides automotive-qualified dual-mode global V2X solutions compatible with multiple V2X standards that are designed to reduce collisions and improve mobility. Autotalks, which has raised a total of $110m. to date, employs 120 people.

As the automotive industry continues to push towards electric and automated vehicles, there is a surging demand for computer chips to power the sophisticated technology found in these vehicles. This demand has created a unique opportunity for chipmakers to capitalize on this growth area.

Semiconductor water with infrared chips. (credit: Assaf Ronen)

According to industry experts, the global automotive semiconductor market is set to grow from $53b. in 2021 to $103.85b. by 2025, with electric and hybrid vehicles playing a major role in the expansion. This rise is not only due to the increase in electric vehicles but also due to the growing demand for advanced driver-assistance systems and other autonomous features.

A key enabling technology in autonomous driving is V2X, which enables communication between vehicles and their surroundings. It allows vehicles to share information with other vehicles, pedestrians, traffic lights and other objects in the environment that may affect driving conditions.

V2X technology has the potential to greatly improve road safety by providing real-time information to drivers about potential hazards, road conditions and other vehicles on the road; it can also enhance traffic flow by enabling vehicles to communicate with traffic signals and other infrastructure, allowing for more efficient routing and reducing congestion. In addition, V2X can help to reduce emissions by optimizing vehicle performance and reducing the need for stop-and-go driving.

“We have been investing in V2X research, development, and deployment since 2017 and believe that as the automotive market matures, a standalone V2X safety architecture will be needed for enhanced road user safety, as well as smart transportation systems.”

Nakul Duggal

“We have been investing in V2X research, development and deployment since 2017 and believe that as the automotive market matures, a standalone V2X safety architecture will be needed for enhanced road user safety, as well as smart transportation systems,” said Qualcomm’s senior vice-president-automotive, Nakul Duggal.

Qualcomm has made several investments in automotive technology in recent years, with technologies that include 5G connectivity for vehicles, electric vehicle charging and autonomous driving technology.

One of its key efforts in the automotive tech industry is its Snapdragon Digital Chassis, a new platform designed to enable automakers to develop more advanced and sophisticated vehicles. The digital chassis platform is essentially a set of hardware and software tools that allow automakers to integrate various systems and components more easily and efficiently, ultimately leading to a more seamless and cohesive vehicle.

Last year, the president and CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated, Cristiano Amon, noted the chassis’s popularity among automakers. “The Snapdragon Digital Chassis, combined with our relationships with automakers, has resulted in a $30b. design-win pipeline,” he said. “We are winning the digital future of automotive.” 

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