Lyft Acquires London-based Augmented Reality Startup Blue Vision Labs
【Summary】Ride hailing company Lyft announced today it is acquiring Blue Vision Labs, a London-based augmented reality startup. Blue Vision Labs specializes in using computer vision technology to add AR features street-level imagery. Blue Vision’s technology will help accelerate Lyft’s efforts toward developing autonomous transportation.
Lyft's smartphone app might one day include augmented reality features. The ride-hailing company announced today it is acquiring Blue Vision Labs, a London-based augmented reality startup. Blue Vision Labs specializes in using computer vision technology to add AR features street-level imagery. Blue Vision's technology will help accelerate Lyft's efforts toward developing autonomous transportation.
The AR company will become Lyft's first UK office and become part of Lyft's Level 5 division, which focuses on the company's autonomous driving development. Lyft's Level 5 division is based in Palo Alto, California.
The purchase price was reported to be "around $72 million with an additional $30 million contingent on hitting certain milestones." according to TechCrunch, which first reported the news.
Blue Vision Labs was co-founded in 2016 by Peter Ondruska, Lukas Platinsky, Hugo Grimmett, Andrej Pancik, and Bryan Baum, graduates from the University of Oxford and Imperial College London. Today, their 40-person team includes experts in computer vision and robotics.
The company has a unique approach to gathering data. It crowdsources highly detailed 3D maps of entire cities with centimeter-level accuracy using just images captured from car-mounted smartphone cameras. These highly detailed maps allow a car to understand exactly where it is and the environment around it. Blue Vision Labs says it's the first company able to build cloud-based, city-scale 3D maps from cell phone acquired imagery.
Adding Augmented Reality Features to Lyft's App
In March of this year, Blue Vision Labs launched its AR Cloud, a technology that allows developers to create shared AR experiences. One potential application of Blue Vision's AR cloud is to connect Lyft passengers with their drivers by overlaying the car's position or the Lyft company logo directly on the rider's smartphone screen in augmented reality. The technology can be used to identify a specific Lyft vehicle from others on a crowded city street.
The key part of Blue Vision's technology is creating highly accurate AR map of entire cities, which are stored in the cloud and continuously updated. The cloud houses the AR content and also allows users' smartphones to determine their exact location with centimeter-level precision, based only on the visual information from the camera. Using this technology, Blue Vision can turn entire cities into giant digital canvases, upon which immersive AR experiences can be built.
In a blog post, Blue Vision Labs wrote "We are very excited to be working with Lyft to contribute to their efforts in enabling the future of autonomous mobility."
Blue Vision Labs also announced that it raised $14.5 million in Series A funding led by GV (formerly Google Ventures). GV joins current investors Accel, Horizons Ventures, SV Angel and others who led the company's previous $2.7 million seed round.
Lyft said that its Level 5 self-driving division has grown to include 300 world-class engineers and researchers, many of whom have worked on some of the most ambitious projects of the past two decades. The team includes autonomy and robotics experts who worked at Waymo, Ford, Apple, Tesla, Google and Microsoft.
Lyft's self-driving vehicles are already being tested on public roads in California. In a blog post, Luc Vincent, VP of Autonomous Technology at Lyft, wrote that the company expects to double the size of its Level 5 team over the next 18 months, as the company scales it autonomous driving program.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
Toyota Launches its Vehicle Throttle Suppression System to Prevent Unintended Acceleration
Chinese EV Startup BYTON to Suspend Operations for 6 Months, the Company’s Future is Uncertain
Xpeng Motors Begins Deliveries of its Electric P7 ‘Smart Sedan’, Creates New Competition for Tesla in China
Amazon Signs Agreement to Buy Self-Driving Startup Zoox for More Than $1 Billion
Electric Truck Startup Lordstown Motors Unveils its Battery-Powered Endurance Pickup
Tesla Under Investigation by the NHTSA Over Failing Touchscreen Displays in the Model S
Lyft is Tapping its Drivers to Collect Data for Improving its Self-Driving Vehicles and Build HD Maps
Mercedes Benz & NVIDIA Are Developing a New Software-Based Vehicle Architecture That Supports OTA Updates
- The New Polestar 2 EV Matches its Performance with Equally High Safety Standards
- Samsung Submits Patent Application for VR Eyeglasses That Can Display Turn-by-Turn Navigation for Drivers
- As the Coronavirus Keeps Customers Away From Dealers, Volkswagen is Using 3D Technology to Display New Models
- Chinese EV Startup NIO Partners with Xiaomi on Remote Car Smartwatch App
- Ford’s Mach-E Will Include ‘Intelligent Range’ Technology to More Accurately Calculate Range
- Amazon in Advanced Talks to Buy Silicon Valley Self-Driving Startup Zoox, Reports Say
- Uber Shares Surge 37% After its CEO Says the Ride-Hailing Giant Has $10 Billion in Cash to Weather the Coronavirus Crisis
- Volkswagen to Invest Up to $200 Million in Silicon Valley Battery Developer QuantumScape
- Softbank Leads $500 Million Investment in Didi Chuxing’s Autonomous Driving Subsidiary
- China Extends New Energy Vehicle Subsidies Through 2022