Top 5 Smart Mergers & Acquisitions - The Race for Autonomous Cars

As the automotive industry drives towards enhanced technology for full automation, recent M&A’s has gone from the traditional acquisitions to expansion into new technologies, new services and new business models.

Along with the massive wave of industry coupling between automotive and technical advances, we see more and more tech start-ups being acquired by the large traditional OEM’s, as the need to combine manufacturers with in-house technical specialists becomes a must in the modern automotive industry to remain competitive in gaining competences within software and E/E. 


In this report, Automotive IQ reviews the latest top 5 smartest moves, meaning the inclusion depends upon the technical outcome of the mergers to the global automotive industry. 


Toyota acquires the Jaybridge Robotics Team

Date March, 2016

Investment Not made public

Why it's cool and on our list Not the most traditional acquisition in history, but definitely one of the most interesting ones with Toyota acquiring a top notch engineering team from an MIT-born company

Jaybridge had an extensive experience in the development of turnkey automated solutions that are easy-to-use, requiring minimal operator training and delivering substantial value to industrial vehicles manufacturers’ operations. The brains behind this – the 16-member software engineering team – was acquired and brought in to the Toyota Research Institute. Toyota had been in a somewhat of a “disadvantage” from the other car makers without a clear timeline of releasing an autonomous vehicle. It was also missing a strong knowledge base needed for breaking through advanced automated technologies.  For this reason the investment towards acquiring the talent behind the extensive research (rather than the company itself) is a smart move. The same technology can be applied in Toyota’s automotive applications and is a major step in Toyota’s game towards AI and robotics.


ZF Friedrichsafen acquires 40% of Ibeo Automotive Systems 

Date August, 2016

Investment Not made public

Why it's cool and on our list One of the biggest tier 1 of safety-critical systems and body parts gains expertise in lidar technology and environmental recognition software for completing their suite of products

This is definitely a smart move from ZF as the sensor fusion technology was what was missing from ZF’s existing sensor portfolio. It also boosted the meaning of ZF’s central theme of “See – Think – Act” that can now also be applied in the autonomous and highly automated technologies. ZF was also one of the last big ones to join the race – after moves to the Lidar world from Denso, Ford, LeddarTech and others - but they did so very smartly, acquiring an already established technology with expertise dating from 1998. Ibeo has already proven themselves with a highlight project “Lux Fusion” lidar scanners where they worked with BMW on the “Connected Drive 5” series vehicle in 2013.


TomTom acquires Autonomos

Date January, 2017

Investment Not made public

Why it's cool and on our list Can only be good when the industry leader in navigation teams up with an autonomous driving company

Navigation and mapping company TomTom who delivers data to Uber and Apple, acquired the Berlin-based start-up company Autonomos, a strategic decision that going forward will strengthen TomTom’s position within autonomous driving. In 2012 Autonomos was established which came after the founders had worked for multiple years in successful autonomous driving research projects at the Free University of Berlin. Up to today, Autonomos has previously provided R&D consultancy services for automated vehicle assistance systems and has built up expertise and technologies in the process. 

With this acquisition of Autonomos, the team will advance TomTom’s map-based products for autonomous driving application. Having an in-house autonomous driving stack will enable TomTom to better serve customers with its products, including its HD map, RoadDNA localisation technology, as well as its navigation, traffic and other cloud services.


Samsung acquires Harman

Date March, 2017

Investment $8 billion

Why it's cool and on our list South Korean tech giant moves to become tier-1 auto parts supplier 

Samsung’s acquisition of Harman International Industries is “a natural extension of the automotive strategy we have been pursuing for some time” according to the tech giant itself, which went for $112 per share in cash. It is the largest ever overseas acquisition from a South Korean company, as Harman is to become the supplier of everything from in-car entertainment to connected automotive services. Harman also brings long-term relationships with most of the world’s largest automakers, bringing massive growth opportunities for Samsung and leverage their expertise within semiconductors, connected mobility, user experience, displays and global distribution channels.


Intel acquires Mobileye

Date March, 2017

Investment $15 billion

Why it's cool and on our list Intel’s most pricey acquisition far outside its core business brings Intel to the frontrunner place for the autonomous car race against the likes of Nvidia and Qualcomm

This can definitely be considered one of the priciest takeovers in history and we are not just talking about the automotive history. The deal gives Mobileye, the leader in computer vision systems, an enterprise value of almost 30 times its projected sales for 2017. Keeping that in mind, data generation from self-driving cars on the other hand is a big opportunity for Intel, and Mobileye offers just that. Intel is now in the position to offer car manufacturers larger packages of components they will need as vehicles move towards full automation. And the outcome of this investment for Intel?  Acquisition of state of the art technologies in sensor fusion, mapping, front- and rear-facing camera tech and as of 2018 the crowdsourcing data for high-definition maps, as well as driving policy intelligence underlying driving decisions.




Company information according to § 5 Telemediengesetz
IQPC Gesellschaft für Management Konferenzen mbH
Address: Friedrichstrasse 94, 10117 Berlin
Tel: 49 (0) 30 20 913 -274
Fax: 49 (0) 30 20 913 240
Registered at: Amtsgericht Charlottenburg, HRB 76720
VAT-Number: DE210454451
Management: Silke Klaudat, Richard A. Worden, Michael R. Worden

Firmeninformationen entsprechend § 5 Telemediengesetz
IQPC Gesellschaft für Management Konferenzen mbH
Adresse: Friedrichstrasse 94, 10117 Berlin
Telefonnummer: 030 20913 -274
Fax: 49 (0) 30 20 913 240
Email Adresse:
Registereintragungen: Amtsgericht Charlottenburg HRB 76720
Umsatzsteuer- Indentifikationsnummer DE210454451
Geschäftsführung: Silke Klaudat, Richard A. Worden, Michael R. Worden