Mobileye is competing with Google in the space of driverless technology.

Mobileye, a self-driving car startup, announced the closing of a $400M financing round by firms BlackRock, Fidelity Management, Wellington Management, Sailing Capital and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The round makes Mobileye the highest valued, privately held tech company in Israel with a total market value estimated at $1.5B.

Less is more

Sometimes less is more, especially when competing for the favor of big-auto who are always on the lookout for that balance between the cheapest solution that will still satisfy the safety and quality requirements of the latest innovations in driving technology.

At least that’s what Mobileye is banking on. The Israel and Netherlands based startup is competing with Google in the space of driverless technology. Unlike Google, whose solutions can run upwards of tens of thousands of dollars in equipment, Mobileye’s solution consists of nothing more than a camera and a chip, and only costs several hundreds of dollars making it a very attractive alternative for those automotive companies who’re looking for the best bang for their markup – which is pretty much all of them.

Mobileye has already infiltrated BMW models 5-7 Series, Volvo’s S80, XC70 and V70 models, Buick’s Lucerne and Cadillac’s DTS and STS models. Part of their early market success stems from the company’s phased approach. Mobileye is aware that fully automated driving is still several years away, but that’s no reason why the technology can’t begin to be rolled out in piecemeal fashion, slowly taking over limited amounts of functionality once it’s ready to do so, and the market is ready to let it.

For example, Ziv Aviram – Co-Founder and CEO of Mobileye sees their technology being used in; bumper-to-bumper – stop-and-go traffic, or to assist overly tired drivers, or to help mobile addicts read an email without needlessly endangering everyone else on the road.

A drive for its money

Conveniently, a phased approach not only allows Mobileye to establish brand association with driverless technology well before doubling the competition for who gets to ride shotgun, but it’s also allowing the company to get its technology to that stage without breaking the bank on R&D for an all-or-nothing prospect, something a publicly traded tech giant like Google doesn’t have to worry about.

However, with this latest influx of $400M, combined with Mobileye’s significantly cheaper solution already working on various levels of functionality, Google might have something to worry about after all – Serious competition.

Photo credit: Entrepreneur

Via Business Insider