There will be autonomous vehicles by 2023 or 2024, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told CNBC on Monday — and Intel wants to be first to influence that trend.
That seem like a long way out, but Krzanich told "Squawk Alley" on Monday it's important to start now.
"What you're really doing with car [manufacturers] now is really talking about car models in 2020, 2021," Krzanich said. "We need to get in there, we need to get this platform developed."
Intel announced an agreement to buy Mobileye for about $15.3 billion in cash on Monday, a deal that will give Intel access to Mobileye's computer vision expertise. Mobileye will provide "eyes" that helps self-driving cars "see" the world, Krzanich said, while Intel will provide the "brains" that plot a car's path.
Uniting these two technologies into one platform will make it easier for lawmakers to regulate the technology, Krzanich said.
"Many of you have asked why we think autonomous cars and vehicles are so important to Intel's future. The answer is DATA," Krzanich wrote in a letter to employees on Monday. "[A]utomobiles and the automotive industry are increasingly driven by data and computing. The saying 'What's under the hood' will increasingly refer to computing, not horsepower."
Mobileye could accelerate Intel's entry into the high-growth market of self-driving cars — but the valuation of the deal may be "excessive," wrote Angelo Zino of CFRA Research in a research note.
Intel shares fell nearly 2 percent on Monday. Krzanich said it's a matter of spending more time with the investment community, to explain the long-term strategy behind Mobileye's technologies.
"They're more than just cars, they'll be in high-end devices like the spotting cameras on helicopters, they'll be in high-end drones, and they'll be in robotics as well," Krzanich said. "It's really about computer vision and how computer vision will change the world."