The vision wars are heating up. Google and Salesforce recently announced enterprise scale vision APIs. Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon already had them on offer. Incredible investments in computer vision have also been made by Detroit automakers, robotics firms, and university laboratories. The applications of powerful visual intelligence are nearly infinite, with impact that ranges from self-driving cars to augmented reality to brand visual intelligence.
Baidu is not about to be left behind. Today they acquired xPerception, a software and hardware vision startup founded by Dr. Bao Yingze and Dr. Chen Mingyu, former engineers at AR start-up Magic Leap. XPerception’s core technology is visual inertial simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) and consists of a hardware vision unit that can be mounted to robots, headsets, drones, and other devices to add powerful vision capabilities. With the SLAM unit, these hardware devices can “see” the world through a combination of self-localization, 3D structure reconstruction, and path planning in new environments.
Following the acquisition, the founders and core xPerception team will join Baidu Research and continue working on SLAM. This investment reflects a commitment of Baidu to continue fortifying AI defensibility in key research areas and build influence and connectivity across labs in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and the Silicon Valley.