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Apple acquires AI startup Xnor.ai for $200 million

By Cookie Monster - on 18 Jan 2020, 10:41am

Apple acquires AI startup Xnor.ai for $200 million

Xnor.ai is a Seattle startup that specialises in low-power, edge-based AI tools.

Apple is beefing up its artificial intelligence (AI) efforts with yet another acquisition.

GeekWire reports that the iPhone maker paid around $200 million for Seattle startup Xnor.ai. The AI startup specializes in machine learning and image recognition tools that can be executed on low-power devices rather than relying on the cloud. 

Xnor.ai made several important advances in 2019 which include the development of a dedicated AI chip that can run on solar power or a coin-sized battery for years, an AI system that can autonomously monitor grocery shelves, and a deal to have its edge-based person recognition technology integrated into Wyze Lab's security cameras. 

Given Apple's increasing emphasis on personal privacy and AI technology, the acquisition of Xnor.ai is not surprising. Apple has made a number of AI-related acquisitions and hires in the past few years. It bought U.K startup Spectral Edge in December 2019 for improving iPhone photography.

The iPhone maker also reportedly acquired Drive.ai for its engineering talent to accelerate the development of a self-driving vehicle system. Apple bought Laserlike, a startup that specialised in developing an "interest search engine" to deliver personalised information to users. Other acquisitions include voice app startup Pullstring and Silk Labs. Apple hired ex-Googler Ian Goodfellow to lead the Special Projects Group, and former Google A.I chief John Giannandrea to run its machine learning and AI strategy.

Source: GeekWire