Apple has made yet another acquisition in the artificial intelligence industry. Bloomberg reports that Apple has acquired the Barcelona-based startup Vilynx Inc in a deal completed for around $50 million.
Apple confirmed the acquisition with its standard statement when it makes such deals. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” it said in a statement to Bloomberg. The deal is said to have been made earlier this year.
Vilynx specialized in using advanced artificial intelligence and computer vision technology to analyze the content of a video. The technology could use AI to determine the content of a video’s audio, text, and visual content, then create searchable tags for the video.
Vilynx applied its technology to software that companies used for search and recommendation engines for video and other media. On its now defunct website, the startup touted the ability of its system to not only recognize items, but understand them.
There are a variety of different ways in which Apple could apply the Vilynx technology to its platforms. For example, Siri and search could be bolstered with new ways to include video content in results. The Photos app could also be improved with new search capabilities, and Bloomberg points out that AI video technology could also be used in the TV app.
As part of the deal, Vilynx’s cofounder and chief technology officer Elisenda Bou-Balust will remain at Apple, alongside around 50 other engineers and data scientists.
Apple is keeping Vilynx’s Barcelona office and intends to make it one of the company’s main artificial intelligence research and development centers in Europe, the people said. Apple has started hiring engineers for the office. Apple also has AI engineers in Europe in Cambridge, UK; Cork, Ireland; Munich and Zurich.
Vilynx is just one of the many AI and machine learning startups Apple has acquired recently. Back in May, Apple acquired the machine learning startup Inductiv to improve Siri data.
In 2016, Apple acquired the Seattle-based startup Turi as part of its efforts to build out its machine learning and artificial intelligence teams. Apple went on to release the Turi Create framework for simplifying the development of machine learning models. Then, in 2018, Apple completed an acquisition of the privacy-focused artificial intelligence startup “Silk Labs.”
Earlier this year, Apple acquired the low-power AI startup Xnor.ai, which was powering on-device person detection used by smart home camera maker Wyze.
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