US-based ride-hailing company Uber has acquired Seattle startup Mighty AI, which develops training data for computer vision models, GeekWire reported. The companies did not reveal any terms, the report said.
Jon Thompson, vice president of software engineering for Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, told GeekWire, “The team at Mighty AI has built technology to label at scale using the latest AI and user experience techniques. Training our AI at increasing pace is critical to scaling our self-driving technology.”
The GeekWire report said Uber will acquire Mighty AI’s intellectual property, tooling, tech talent, and labeling community.
More than 40 employees from Mighty AI will join Uber at its Seattle engineering office, operating as a team within Uber’s self-driving division. Mighty AI clients — which include Samsung, Microsoft, Intel, Accenture and Siemens — have been notified that the company’s operations will shut down, the report added.
“I’m excited to pair Mighty AI’s platform and expertise in generating high-quality labeled data with Uber’s Advanced Technologies Groups (ATG) world-class research and engineering to accelerate the development of self-driving technology,” Daryn Nakhuda, chief executive officer at Mighty AI told GeekWire.
According to the report, Uber has been working on autonomous vehicle technology at robotics facilities for several years and plans to start rolling out self-driving taxis on public roads in 2020, after a few recent setbacks. The transportation giant invested $457 million last year in the company’s Pittsburgh-based Advanced Technologies Group, which oversees self-driving tech, it added.
Uber said that it expects to increase its investments in these new initiatives in the near term.
Uber has more than 450 employees at its Seattle engineering hub that recently expanded. The company, which went public last month, has made eight acquisitions to date, it added.
Mighty AI was founded in 2014, it makes software that helps computer vision systems label and identify objects. Mighty AI had raised $27 million from investors including Intel Capital, GV, Foundry Group, Madrona Venture Group, and New Enterprise Associates.
The Uber acquisition was a good outcome for Mighty AI given the current state of its business, but investors did not get back all of their investment, the report added.