Lyft buys AR firm to help with its self-driving cars
Self-driving cars are the hottest new thing to happen to the automobile industry, so it makes sense that ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft are investing in the tech. There have been a few snags, to say the least. Lyft may see some breakthroughs in the near future, though. TechCrunch is reporting that the company recently acquired startup Blue Vision Labs, a London-based company that develops augmented reality (AR).
Blue Vision Labs is best known for its work with using “street-level imagery” to construct “interactive augmented reality layers” through nothing more than the camera on a smartphone. Basically, Blue Vision Labs has developed AR software that can create maps and other virtual objects layered over whatever a smartphone camera is pointing at. This can help self-driving cars better recognize other vehicles, people, and landmarks by identifying them as AR objects in software.
Lyft shelled out an estimated US $72 million with an option $30 million based on Blue Vision Labs hitting some milestones. While Uber has made headlines over the past year for the strides it has taken toward deploying autonomous vehicles, this is Lyft’s first major business acquisition pinned on self-driving cars. Whether or not it will pan out remains to be seen, but considering heavyweights like Uber, GM, Ford, and Tesla are all heavily invested in self-driving vehicles, Lyft may be fighting an uphill battle.