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AI acquisition sees Baidu gear up for self driving cars

Baidu has announced the acquisition of US company xPerception in big AI push

By Joe Clark

Baidu has announced that it has acquired US based computer vision company, xPerception.

Baidu, the Chinese-American business, is one of the largest web services companies in the world and this latest acquisition is part of the company’s continued push into artificial intelligence (AI).

xPerception currently develop computer vision software and hardware with links to both virtual reality (VR) and robotics. The company will continue their core work but as part of Baidu’s California research department.

In a statement, Baidu said: “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. AI has permeated many of Baidu’s products, and the company has been attracting leading AI talent through its research facilities in Silicon Valley, Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.”

The key tech currently being developed by xPerception is visual inertial simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), which is fundamental to visual perception. The technology allows machines to “see” the world through “self-localization, 3D structure reconstruction, and path planning in new environments.”

xPerception was founded by Dr. Bao Yingze and Dr. Chen Mingyu, both of whom were engineers at AR start up Magic Leap.

Baidu

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Though, the value of the transaction was not disclosed but it is expected that the new property will assist Baidu with the development of self driving cars.

The news has come at a time in which many Chinese companies are facing increasing scrutiny regarding the acquisition of US companies.

On Tuesday, other notable Chinese firm Leco announced that it would no longer be pursuing a $2 billion bid for electronics firm Vizio.

Similarly, last week Alibaba Group Holdings, Ant Financial denied claims from Euronet Worldwide that the company’s bid on US company Moneygram International would be a conflict of interest and a possible national security risk.

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