Intel acquires computer vision firm Itseez

The acquisition will help Intel's push into the world of IoT and the self-driving vehicle market.

Focused on evolving into something more than simply a PC company, Intel on Thursday announced it is acquiring Itseez, a computer vision firm with an expertise in embedded and specialized hardware.

"This acquisition furthers Intel's efforts to win in IoT market segments like automotive and video, where the ability to electronically perceive and understand images paves the way for innovation and opportunity," Doug Davis, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's IoT group, wrote in a blog post.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Intel has already started building up its portfolio for the automotive market, Davis noted, adding capabilities like functional safety and over-the-air software management. The appeal of the market is clear, he said, given that self-driving vehicles could deliver $507 billion in annual productivity gains, according to Morgan Stanley estimates.

So far, automakers and technology companies have turned to just a handful of firms for the new technology that powers self-driving cars, such as computer vision. For instance, the company Mobileye, which produces real-time, vision-based collision avoidance camera systems, has partnered with several major automotive companies including Volkswagen, BMW and GM. Meanwhile, other chipmakers like Nvidia are working on technology to interpret data from cameras on cars.

Aside from the automotive market, Davis said Intel's acquisition of Itseez would open up computer vision applications in areas like digital security and surveillance, as well as industrial inspection. He noted that Itseez is a "key contributor" to computer vision standards initiatives, such as OpenCV and OpenVX.

"Together, we'll step up our contribution to these standards bodies - defining a technology bridge that helps the industry move more quickly to OpenVX-based products," he said.

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