Over the past few months, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been the focal point for Chinese Internet giant, Baidu. The company is now taking deeper inroads to advance its footprint in the domain, positioning itself against companies such as Google. In lieu of the same, Baidu has today announced its acquisition of xPerception, a U.S-based computer vision hardware-software solutions company.
The purchase amount has not been yet disclosed by both the parties. Post the conclusion of the proceedings, xPerception team will join Baidu Research and continue developing its core technology, visual-inertial simultaneous localisation, and mapping (SLAM).
xPerception develops solutions for a large range of applications including robotics, virtual reality (VR), and devices for people who’re visually impaired. Its areas of specialisation include Visual-Inertial Navigation, Object Recognition, and 3D sensing. The founders of the company — Dr. Bao Yingze and Chen Mingyu were former engineers at widely known AR startup MagicLeap, which is yet to debut a product. In an official statement, the Chinese search giant stated,
The acquisition of xPerception is the latest in a recent series of notable investments aimed at strengthening Baidu’s position as a global leader in AI.
It further said that xPerception will assist Baidu in developing visual perception technology for their augmented reality (AR) projects and autonomous driving unit.
Baidu recently expanded its presence in the United States by setting up a second research and development center in Silicon Valley. The research facility is about a mile from Baidu’s existing offices in Sunnyvale and specifically lays focus on further building out the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) and self-driving technologies. In addition to the existing 200 researchers, Baidu is planning to add another 150 employees at this new facility.
Baidu’s artificial intelligence and machine learning efforts in the United States are now being shouldered by their President and former Microsoft R&D executive Ya-qin Zhang.
Speaking of Baidu’s autonomous driving push, it is currently building its self-driving cloud-to-car computing platform in partnership with Nvidia. They’will develop a host of solutions, including HD maps, Level 3 autonomous control, and automated parking. The research is aggressively building the said software and has already bagged a permit to test its autonomous vehicle on the streets of California.