Mobileye currently produces many of the sensors and software that enable automatic braking, lane departure warnings, pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control in consumer cars. Their new Road Experience Management (REM) technology is a key product for the company's self-driving ambitions, and Volkswagen just signed on as their newest client.
Volkswagens with REM sensors will record and upload detailed information about their environment to the cloud, creating "swarm data" that can be used to create more detailed maps of areas. The hope is that more automakers will partner with Mobileye to accelerate the push towards autonomous cars, as these vehicles often navigate using map data.
"The Volkswagen agreement is a turning point," said Mobileye co-founder Amnon Shashua. "[T]he agreement provides a framework for industry-wide cooperation between automobile manufacturers to jointly produce the map contents that are needed for autonomous driving."
Mobileye is hoping to become the main supplier of autonomous software and sensors, which means going up against Alphabet's self-driving play, Waymo. With VW, Audi, BMW and Nissan already on board as clients, it appears that Mobileye has the early lead.
Shares of the company rose more than 7 percent Monday following the news. The stock ended the day slightly below those levels, but still gained 5 percent during the session. Mobileye's stock is up more than 80 percent over the past year.