Lyft acquires computer vision startup Blue Vision Labs, in a bid to win the self driving car race

2 min read

Lyft created its Level 5 division last year with the aim to focus on developing self-driving cars. It is now acquiring London based computer vision startup Blue Vision Labs to bring safe and reliable autonomous driving to the streets first.

Self-driving cars is one of the most challenging areas of applied machine learning today.

In just a year, the Level 5 division into a team of 300 engineers and researchers. This acquisition marks the first acquisition for Level 5 and also its first step into the UK self-driving space.

Blue Vision uses computer vision to build large-scale robotics and augmented reality applications. It was found in 2016 by graduates from University of Oxford and Imperial College London. Today they consist of 40 skilled experts in computer vision and robotics. With the technology from Blue Vision Labs, entire city maps in 3D can be formed just with the cameras mounted on cars. These maps make the car aware of its environment with high accuracy.

In a Medium post, the VP of Engineering with Lyft, Luc Vincent says: “Blue Vision Labs is the first company able to build city-scale 3D maps from cell phone acquired imagery. This is truly amazing tech.

Vincent also hinted at bigger plans for the role Blue Vision Labs will play in the growth Lyft’s self driving division. He said, “It also has applications well beyond self-driving. For example, we are keen to explore how we can leverage Blue Vision Labs’ stack to more precisely pinpoint drivers’ and riders’ locations, and create new augmented reality interfaces that make transportation simpler and better for everyone.

In-vehicle advertising is a space all tech titans serious about autonomous tech like Alphabet’s Waymo and Apple’s secretive self-driving car project are vying for. Lyft seems to understand the value of being first to market in this area with this promising acquisition.

Although there is no official statement about the acquisition details, as per some sources for TechCrunch, it is “around $72 million with $30 million on top of that based on hitting certain milestones.” This acquisition will drive Lyft’s self-driving visions on the streets of UK.

Self-driving cars vacate an extra seat in cars and can contribute towards reducing the effects of problems like reducing pollution, traffic etc, believes the Lyft Level 5 team.

To know more details about Lyft self-driving, visit the Lyft website.

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