Intel Acquires Movidius To Accelerate 'Computer Vision' Development
Less than a month after acquiring a startup developing a new computer chip for deep learning, Intel is adding another artificial intelligence company to its portfolio. The addition of Movidius is aimed at boosting Intel's RealSense technology for "computer vision."
While neither company disclosed a figure for the deal, Ireland's public service broadcaster RTE reported the purchase price was around $362 million.
Founded in 2006 and based in San Mateo, Calif., Movidius designs computer chips for vision processing. Intel said the technology will help bring its own RealSense perceptual computing platform "to fruition."
Giving 'Sight to Smart Devices'
"The ability to track, navigate, map and recognize both scenes and objects using Movidius' low-power and high-performance SoCs [systems on chips] opens opportunities in areas where heat, battery life and form factors are key," Josh Walden, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's New Technology Group, wrote in a blog post yesterday. "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."
Adding Movidius' vision processing unit (VPU) technology to Intel's RealSense is "a winning combination for autonomous machines that can see in 3D, understand their surroundings and navigate accordingly," Movidius CEO Remi El-Ouazzane wrote in a separate blog post.
El-Ouazzane said that Movidius' VPU is already being used by clients like Google, Lenovo, DJI and FLIR to "give sight to smart devices" such as drones, security cameras, headsets for augmented-reality and virtual-reality applications and other devices. By becoming part of Intel, Movidius will stay focused on its original goals but "with the technology and resources to innovate faster and execute at scale," he noted.
A 'Cambrian Explosion of Compute'
Last month, Intel announced plans to purchase Nervana, another startup, for a reported $408 million. Nervana is designing the Nervana Engine, an integrated circuit for deep learning that's expected to be released sometime next year.
Intel's RealSense platform was designed to "enable intelligent, interactive and autonomous machines with human-like 3D perception." At its annual developer forum last month, Intel announced a number of new kits aimed at supporting new applications for RealSense, including robots, drones and other types of autonomous machines.
The addition of Movidius' technology to RealSense will help "trigger a Cambrian explosion of compute" for the estimated 50 billion devices expected to be network-connected by 2020, Walden said yesterday.
"We're on the cusp of big breakthroughs in artificial intelligence," El-Ouazzane said. "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."
The market for artificial intelligence applications for the enterprise is expected to hit $31.2 billion by 2025, compared to the current market value of $358 million, according to a new report from the analyst firm Tractica.