Uber has launched an artificial intelligence lab and acquired Geometric Intelligence, an AI start-up, as it seeks to use the technology to improve its driverless cars and delivery routes.
Uber (valued at US$70m) has acquired artificial intelligence (“A.I.”) startup Geometric Intelligence for an undisclosed sum – and this 15 person company focuses on machine learning techniques using a cognitive science approach. Their key man is Gary Marcus, a neural science professor at New York University and leading figure in A.I. Uber isn’t just going to be about calling a cab. It’s going to become a tech co with A.I. at the forefront. This isn’t Uber’s first A.I.-related acquisition. In August, Uber acquired Otto, an autonomous truck and transportation startup for $680 million. Otto founder Lior Ron said he could improve the truck’s self-driving features using Uber’s driving data to build on its A.I. technology. “Uber is driving over a billion miles every month,” Ron said, explaining accessing that driving data and having the ability “to visualize every Uber car is an advantage.”Additionally, Ron can leverage Uber’s existing commercial distribution network while still retaining autonomy over his own autonomous truck delivery service. He said that being associated with Uber helps him land deals with companies like Anheuser-Busch, such as one recent deal in which his team drove an autonomous 18-wheeler for 120 miles through Colorado transporting many crates of beer.Uber as we currently know it has the potential to morph from the software to hail a cab – to potentially becoming a rival to Google, Amazon, Facebook or Apple. I’ve just opened the dictionary to get the definition of Uber: “The ultimate, above all, the best, top, something that nothing is better than. Also Über.” Enough said. Have a blessed weekend.