After the news of Apple acquiring Drive.ai broke out, there is another big news for the self-driving vehicle space.
Uber recently made its first acquisition of a Seattle startup, Mighty AI, that develops training data for computer vision models. While the terms and amount have not been disclosed yet, both the companies confirmed to this development.
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As a part of the deal, Uber will acquire Mighty AI’s intellectual property, tooling, tech talent and labelling community. Also, around 40 employees from Mighty AI will join Uber at its Seattle engineering office who will join Uber’s self-driving division, that already has more 450 employees.
It is interesting to note that Uber has been working on autonomous vehicle technology for several years and this move comes in a bid to strengthen its research further in this area. Uber has ambitious plans to roll out self-driving taxis on public roads in 2020. Last year, Uber had invested $457 million in the company’s Pittsburgh-based Advanced Technologies Group, which oversees self-driving tech.
Founded in 2014, Mighty AI works into making software that helps computer vision systems label and identifies objects. It is a crucial requirement for self-driving cars that helps the car to “see” other cars, people, signs and object on the road. It had raised $27 million from investors including Intel Capital, GV, Foundry Group, Madrona Venture Group, and New Enterprise Associates (NEA).
“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,” said Jon Thomason, vice president of software engineering for Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group.
Mighty AI CEO Daryn Nakhuda said in a statement that he is 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
Nakhuda will join Uber following the deal, however; Mighty AI President Isaac Kato, hired last year, will not.