Israel’s Mobileye will go public in 2022. What does that mean for driverless cars?

WASHINGTON — Mobileye, the Israeli driver-assistance technology company, will go public in 2022, it said Saturday.

The announcement took Wall Street by surprise. After four years as a private company, Israel-based Mobileye will trade on Nasdaq. Its value will be about $14 billion, the company said in a statement. That is about 18 times its annual revenue last year, based on an estimate from Moody’s Investors Service.

Much of Mobileye’s value depends on the future of autonomous driving. The technology can help autonomous cars avoid accidents or prevent them entirely. Unlike other driver-assistance technologies, which look more for tools to maintain vehicles’ current trajectory than the possibility of total autonomy, Mobileye’s focus is on the latter.

“We are taking Mobileye public in the context of our strategy of transition from a company focused on infotainment and pre-cognitive capabilities to a true enabler of autonomous driving,” said Amnon Shashua, Mobileye’s chief executive.

Mobileye has operations in more than 30 countries, but in recent years it has become best known in the United States for its Glasses-Free 3D Cruise Control, a technology that uses hardware and software to read speed limits and lane lines to allow autonomous cars to know what lane they are in, and to stay in it. The company also invested in internet-connected buses and drones.

The company is licensed to sell its technology to four of the six major car manufacturers — including BMW, General Motors, Daimler, Volkswagen and Toyota. Last year it raised $600 million in a financing round, bringing its total financing so far to more than $1.5 billion.

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