Following a partnership to work alongside BMW on a new reference platform for autonomous cars, Intel has announced it is acquiring machine-vision technology company Mobileye for $15.3 billion. The move immediately gives Intel a strong foothold in the automotive industry, with Mobileye's systems already accounting for 70% of the global market for advanced driver-assistance and anti-collision systems.

Intel says it expects the all cash transaction to close within the next nine months.

The two companies are collaborating with BMW on a project to deploy about 40 modified BMW 7 Series sedans for testing on public roads in the U.S. and Europe by the second half of 2017. The goal is to apply the gathered data not only toward producing BMW's self-driving vehicle --- codenamed iNext --- four years from now, but to develop "scalable architecture" that can be adopted by other vehicle brands as a turnkey option instead of creating all of their own autonomous driving technology from scratch.

Intel is separately working on another partnership with Mobileye and Delphi centered on self-driving technology, with the goal of delivering a fully functioning system by 2019.

This is the latest in a series of moves to position itself in the automotive space. Back in November the company created a new business unit known as the Automated Driving Group and has vowed to spend $250 million over the next two years toward the development of autonomous vehicles. Intel estimates the vehicle systems, data and services market opportunity to be up to $70 billion by 2030