Intel buys computer vision startup Itseez to improve navigation in self-driving cars

Intel has acquired computer vision and machine learning startup Itseez to develop better navigation for self-driving cars. The value of the deal was undisclosed.

Founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, Itseez makes computer vision algorithms and software. The company’s products include a suite of algorithms for automobiles it calls “advanced driver assistance systems,” which allows car hardware to recognize pedestrians and traffic signs and warn about potential collisions.

The acquisition of Itseez comes one month Intel announced the purchase of Yogitech, another Internet of Things-related company. Based in Italy, Yogitech works on functional safety for semiconductors (which means its tech makes sure the chips powering autonomous vehicles are working properly).

Last year it also bought Lantiq, which makes chips for smart objects. Intel already makes chips, software, and a development kit for self-driving cars.

In Intel’s announcement, Doug Davis, Intel senior vice president and general manager of its Internet of Things Group (IOTG), said, “Itseez will become a key ingredient for Intel’s Internet of Things Group roadmap, and will help Intel’s customers create innovative deep-learning-based [computer vision] applications like autonomous driving, digital security and surveillance, and industrial application.”

Itseez has also developed algorithms for robotics, surveillance, smartphones, and sports analytics.

The acquisition is part of Intel’s strategic shift, which it announced last month, from PC chip maker to cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and analyzing data from those devices. Intel says its data center and Internet of Things businesses, which make up 40 percent of its total revenue, are already its “primary growth engines,” and have helped it weather a decline in the PC market by creating a total of $2.2 billion in revenue growth last year.

But the restructuring has already come at a huge cost—Intel is laying off 12,000 employees, or 11 percent of its workforce. Intel CEO Brian Crzanich said the job cuts are part of Intel’s “restructuring to accelerate its transformation.”