CareCredit - Women's Health April 2024

Mobileye’s Excess Inventory Hints at Longer Road Ahead for Autonomous Vehicles

For autonomous vehicles (AVs), the road ahead stretches out a bit farther.

On Thursday (Jan. 4), Mobileye, which makes self-driving technology — spanning cameras and chips and systems — posted preliminary results for the third quarter. 

The results pointed to what the company called “excess inventory at our customers,” which includes millions of Mobileye’s EyeQ SoCs, used for real-time visual recognition in self-driving vehicles. 

Mobileye said that stockpiling has been due to the recent experience of disrupted supply chains due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To automakers, having more chips on hand means they can build as demand materializes and as technology evolves.  

Mobileye, which is owned by Intel, has said that the excess inventory should be worked down through the next few quarters, as car manufacturers themselves are showing evidence of “lower than expected production.”

Investors were swift to desert the company, sending Mobileye shares down about 25% in Thursday’s trading, before rebounding a bit on Friday (Jan. 5). 

The vagaries of stock trading aside, Mobileye’s statement is a nod to the fact that self-driving vehicles may be on the horizon, but will take time.

As PYMNTS reported four years ago, the company had mapped out a strategy that would see fully autonomous cars on the road by this year (2024). Mobileye said on its website that it has already conducted tests of its AVs on the road in Paris and New York. And elsewhere in the U.S., fully autonomous rides are now available to Uber customers in Phoenix following a partnership with Waymo.

Looking (Far) Ahead

But widespread availability seems years away.

In the same year that Mobileye laid out its aforementioned plans, PYMNTS research found that only 14% of consumers are “extremely interested” in owning or using an autonomous cars. Last year, McKinsey estimated that autonomous driving could be a $300 billion to $400 billion industry by 2035. However, GlobalData has estimated that fully self driving vehicles may not be around until that same year, according to a Verdictreport.

It may be the case that the movement toward AVs rests upon an evolution of the connected car, as we become increasingly comfortable with ceding some control over cockpit tasks to technology. PYMNTS reported late last year that the adoption of hands-free in-car voice technologies has proven to be a stepping stone to real-time digital commerce.

In the meantime, delivery and other use cases are helping to pave the path for AVs. On Thursday, AV firm Nuro announced a partnership with Foretellix with an eye on the large-scale deployment of AVs for last-mile delivery.