What happened

Shares of Mobileye N.V. (NYSE:MBLY) were surging last month, gaining 13% according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

A thumb and forefinger holding a Mobileye chip

Image source: Mobileye.

The self-driving car specialist benefited from a deal with BMW and Intel in the beginning of the month and later jumped on an analyst upgrade.

MBLY Chart

MBLY data by YCharts.

So what 

Mobileye stock jumped out of the gate to start the new year, gaining 8% on Jan. 3 after announcing the deal with BMW and Intel. The three partners said they would put a fleet of 40 self-driving vehicles on the road by the second half of the year, and Mobileye is also planning with the car maker and tech company to bring autonomous vehicles to market by 2021.

On the same day, the Israeli company announced a strategic partnership with NIO, an electric vehicle start-up. Later in the month, the stock continued to move higher as it got endorsements from several research firms and banks including Goldman Sachs, which lifted its rating on Mobileye to buy and gave it a $50 price target, saying the company was well positioned for upcoming opportunities in the autonomous driving space.

Now what 

There's no shortage of enthusiasm for autonomous vehicles on Wall Street. The consensus among tech companies, automakers, and others seems to be that at least partially autonomous vehicles will become commonplace within five to 10 years. 

However, for investors, Mobileye is one of the few pure-play stocks available. Shares of rival NVIDIA nearly tripled last year on growing possibilities in the industry.

Mobileye's partnerships across the spectrum of automakers seem encouraging, and the company is solidly profitable. No one knows for sure where autonomous vehicles are going, but Mobileye looks like a solid bet for investors itching for a piece of a potentially huge industry.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.