Intel, the world's largest semiconductor company with an eye towards artificially intelligent machines, is in the process of acquiring Movidius, a fabless chipmaker that designs computer vision processors used in drones, self-driving cars, VR solutions, and other gadgets. Provided the deal goes through, Intel sees "massive potential" for the pairing.
Movidius is the latest in a growing line of acquisitions that Intel hopes will bolster its efforts in various emerging technologies, particularly those related to the Internet of Things (IoT) category. With Movidius, Intel plans to mash together the company's computer vision and SoC platforms with its own RealSense depth sensing camera technology. It's all about bringing human-like sight to what the 50 million connected devices Intel says are projected by 2020.
"We see massive potential for Movidius to accelerate our initiatives in new and emerging technologies. The ability to track, navigate, map and recognize both scenes and objects using Movidius’ low-power and high-performance SoCs opens opportunities in areas where heat, battery life and form factors are key," Intel says. "Specifically, we will look to deploy the technology across our efforts in augmented, virtual and merged reality (AR/VR/MR), drones, robotics, digital security cameras and beyond."
Movidius will keep its team intact as it merges with Intel. The upshot for Movidius is that it can continue with its mission of giving the power of sight to machines, only now it has the backing and vast resources of Intel, which will both allow and demand that it innovate faster and execute at scale.
The two firms seem to be on the same page. Though Movidius is a much smaller and lesser known outfit with high profile clients that include Google and Lenovo, it's not content to go into cruise control, as some firms might do after proving themselves.
"When computers can see, they can become autonomous and that’s just the beginning. We’re on the cusp of big breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. In the years ahead, we’ll see new types of autonomous machines with more advanced capabilities as we make progress on one of the most difficult challenges of AI: getting our devices not just to see, but also to think," Movidius said.
Movidius sounds a lot like Intel that respect. Up until this point, Movidius has been focused on device-level solutions that combine advanced algorithms with dedicated low-power hardware.
"At Intel, we'll be part of a team that is attacking this challenge from the cloud, through the network, and on the device. This is very exciting," Movidius added.