Uber buys AI firm to advance push on self-driving cars

Uber said it has acquired computer vision startup Mighty AI to help advance its technology for autonomous cars

27 June 2019 - 11:21 By afp.com
Uber, which has become the most important ride-hailing operator, has been moving into new technologies that could see deployment of autonomous vehicles and even flying cars in the coming years.
Uber, which has become the most important ride-hailing operator, has been moving into new technologies that could see deployment of autonomous vehicles and even flying cars in the coming years.
Image: AFP

Uber said on Wednesday it had acquired computer vision startup Mighty AI to help advance its technology for self-driving cars.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but the ride-hailing giant said about 40 employees from the Seattle-based firm would join Uber's advanced technology group developing plans for autonomous taxis.

Mighty AI specialises in computer vision, a field within artificial intelligence that is used to better understand or "label" the surroundings of vehicles that will be deployed autonomously.

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"The team at Mighty AI has built technology to label at scale using the latest AI and user experience techniques," said Jon Thomason, vice-president of software engineering for the Uber division.

"Training our AI at increasing pace is critical to scaling our self-driving technology, and I look forward to bringing Mighty AI's technology together with our existing labelling automation expertise to help us move even faster."

Daryn Nakhuda, Mighty AI's chief executive, said in a statement released by Uber: "I'm excited to pair Mighty AI's platform and expertise in generating high-quality labelled data with Uber ATG's world-class research and engineering to accelerate the development of self-driving technology."

Uber, which has become the most important ride-hailing operator, has been moving into new technologies that could see deployment of autonomous vehicles and even flying cars in the coming years.

The news comes as Apple indicated it had acquired self-driving tech startup Drive.ai to advance its ambitions in the sector.

The news site Axios first reported the Apple deal for Drive.ai, saying the price would be below the $77 million (roughly R1,092,541,450) raised by the startup.

Apple, which has been testing its own autonomous technology, offered no details on the transaction.


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