Uber acquires AI startup Geometric Intelligence, creates Uber AI research lab

By : |December 6, 2016 0

This was expected sooner than later with AI currently ruling the roost in the tech industry. US cab-aggregator, Uber has acquired a two-year-old artificial intelligence startup Geometric Intelligence whose team will provide the core for a new central AI lab being established at Uber’s SF HQ.

The new core team will work under Jeff Holden, Uber’s Chief Product Officer and along with improving the algorithms that power the whole driver-passenger matching will also help propel the cab aggregator into the future. They will also be looking at applications for AI more broadly, with a focus on basic research that’s likely to have an impact across a range of potential uses, including things like route management.

Founded by New York University psychologist Gary Marcus and University of Cambridge professor of information engineering Zoubin Ghahramani, Geometric Intelligence spans thirteen other researchers culled from across the academic world.

While fourteen of Geometric Intelligence employees will be making their way to San Francisco to work directly with Uber and help it create a dedicated AI lab, Ghahramani, will be working out of Cambridge.
The acquisition is a clear indication that Uber doesn’t want to restrict itself to any single domain now.

The cab-aggregator already runs a self-driving car lab in Pittsburgh after poaching 40 researchers and scientists from Carnegie Mellon University, and it recently acquired the San Francisco self-driving car company Otto.

But Geometric Intelligence will anchor a general artificial intelligence lab that explores technologies well beyond today’s autonomous vehicles. This hub is expected to be on same grounds as Google Brain, the team that drives AI research for the search giant, and Facebook’s FAIR lab, which does much the same thing for Mark Zuckerberg and company.

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