Intel shares surged 7% today as Wall Street cheered the chip giant's move to take its self-driving-car unit public.

The listing comes at a time when global carmakers are spending billions of dollars to accelerate their transition to electric vehicles.

The chipmaker's shares have barely budged this year, as Intel struggles to ramp up its technology and catch up with rivals in making more energy-efficient microprocessors.

Today's gains will help Intel add $17 billion to its market capitalisation. Shares of Qualcomm, Nvidia and AMD were also up in early trading.

Mobileye, an Israeli company that Intel bought for about $15 billion five years ago, could be valued at more than $50 billion during its US initial public offering in mid-2022, sources told Reuters.

Mobileye has a rich roster of clients, including BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Nissan, Honda and General Motors.

Its technology has been deployed by automakers as they equip their cars with driver-assistance systems or experiment with self-driving technology in their shift toward electric vehicles.

Intel expects Mobileye's revenue to grow over 40% this year.

"Rather than trying to compete with its potential foundry customers in the automotive market, it can serve as a foundry of choice to more automotive chipsets suppliers as well as auto manufacturers that may want to adopt its in-house chips," Summit Insights Group analyst Kinngai Chan said.