Intel Chases Machine Learning with Movidius Acquisition

Intel announced late Monday that it is set to acquire small chipmaker Movidius which specializes in computer vision processors used primarily in drones and virtual reality hardware. Intel hopes to pair Movidius’ technology with its own RealSense depth-sensing camera technology which allows the computer to identify objects, distance and understand three-dimensional space.

“We see massive potential for Movidius to accelerate our initiatives in new and emerging technologies,” said Josh Walden, senior VP of Intel’s new technology group in a statement. “The ability to track, navigate, map and recognize both scenes and objects using Movidius’ low-power and high-performance SoCs opens opportunities in areas where heat, battery life and form factors are key. Specifically, we will look to deploy the technology across our efforts in augmented, virtual and merged reality (AR/VR/MR), drones, robotics, digital security cameras and beyond.”

Movidius’ latest chip, the Myriad 2, can make sense of multiple video streams at once, all in a processor the size of a fingernail.

‘When computers can see, they can become autonomous and that’s just the beginning,” said Movidius CEO Remi El-Ouazzane in a statement. “We’re on the cusp of big breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. In the years ahead, we’ll see new types of autonomous machines with more advanced capabilities as we make progress on one of the most difficult challenges of AI: getting our devices not just to see, but also to think.”

The deal is expected to close later this year.