Why would Lyft, the rideshare company, acquire the London-based augmented reality firm for self-driving
? Mapping, mostly. Blue Vision Labs' technology allows it to use smartphone-grade cameras at street-level to build interactive augmented reality layers. In the future, this tech could be used by a self-driving car to better perceive the world around it.
Lyft's Level 5 division is also using
Fusion Hybrid sedans as test mules, not surprising since the not-long-for-this-world four-door seems to get used by a lot of companies in that way, though TechCrunch points out that this doesn't seem to have anything to do with the partnership that Ford and Lyft announced in 2017.
The market for self driving is getting crowded, and while the 300-person autonomous-tech team at Lyft has more resources than many, it certainly seems to be more than a little behind the pace set by companies like Waymo.
The acquisition price for the 39-employee Blue Vision is said to be $72 million, $30 million of which reportedly hinges upon meeting key performance goals.
With a massive multibillion dollar IPO on schedule for next year, Lyft could go a long way towards impressing investors if it can develop promising autonomy technology over the coming months, but will Blue Vision Labs be the key?
Here's the self-driving car you can take around Las Vegas during CES