Lyft acquires AR startup in self-driving move

Lyft acquires AR startup in self-driving move

Business news |
By Rich Pell

The move was made by Lyft’s self-driving car division, Level 5, which is developing an open self-driving system. Blue Vision Labs – which will become the UK hub for Level 5 – uses computer vision to build large-scale robotics and AR applications and represents Lyft’s first acquisition in the self-driving space.

“One of the reasons why Blue Vision Labs’ technology is so cutting-edge is that it can crowd-source highly detailed 3D maps of entire cities using just car-mounted camera phones,” says Luc Vincent, VP of Autonomous Technology at Lyft in a blog post announcing the acquisition. “These maps allow a car to understand exactly where it is, what’s around it, and what to do next, with centimeter-level accuracy.”

Blue Vision Labs is the first company able to build city-scale 3D maps from cell phone acquired imagery. This technology, says Lyft, is an essential component for self-driving vehicles, which cannot be achieved using GPS or traditional maps, and should help it significantly accelerate its efforts toward developing safe and reliable autonomous transportation by combining geometric maps built using lidar with those built using only cameras.

“It also has applications well beyond self-driving,” says Vincent. “For example, we are keen to explore how we can leverage Blue Vision Labs’ stack to more precisely pinpoint drivers’ and riders’ locations, and create new augmented reality interfaces that make transportation simpler and better for everyone.”

Founded in 2016, Blue Vision Labs currently has a 39-person staff, which includes a number of the world’s leading experts in computer vision and robotics. Lyft is reportedly acquiring the company for about $72 million, with an additional $30 million conditional on meeting certain milestones.

Blue Vision Labs

Related articles:
Ford, Lyft partner to bring self-driving cars to the masses
Mapping startup for autonomous cars aims to automate cities
Mitsubishi Electric develops technologies for real-time 3D maps
Mapless navigation lets autonomous cars drive on unknown roads
Waymo to launch driverless robo-taxis in Arizona

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