The Oxford artificial intelligence company Latent Logic has been acquired for an undisclosed amount by Google’s self-driving car division Waymo. This also marked the entry of Waymo for the first time in et United Kingdom.
A specialist in “imitation learning”, which is the process of teaching machines about how to act by showing them examples of humans performing the same actions, Latent Logic is a spinout company of the University of Oxford. The academics Shimon Whiteson and João Messias were behind the forming of the company in 2017.
The self driving of a car is comprised of a number of complex behavior and decision making by machines such as what to do when a cyclist skids in rain, a pedestrian emerges from a parked car or a car cutting off another at a roundabout. The Google’s self driving unit expects that the specialized expertise of the UK firm would be helpful in teaching the AI based machines and computers used in its self driving process could be taught how to handle situations such decision making complex.
“The team’s expertise in reinforcement learning and imitation learning can help further accelerate Waymo’s progress in areas from simulation to behaviour prediction and planning,” the company said in a statement.
A second pool of AI talent outside its headquarters in Mountain View, California is also being planned to be built by the Alphabet subsidiary with the use of its new base in Oxford. In the area of AI based research, including in the field of autonomous vehicles, the UK is a world leader. The country also possess many talented researchers who either do not intend to or do not have the option to relocate to the US irrespective of the compensations offered to them by US tech companies.
“We see an exciting opportunity in Europe, not only in continuing to build our partnerships with major automakers but also in benefiting from the world-class technology and engineering capabilities in Oxford and beyond,” said Drago Anguelov, Waymo’s principal scientist and head of research.
“By joining Waymo, we are taking a big leap towards realizing our ambition of safe, self-driving vehicles. In just two years, we have made significant progress in using imitation learning to simulate real human behaviors on the road. I’m excited by what we can now achieve in combining this expertise with the talent, resources and progress Waymo have already made in self-driving technology,” added Whiteson, who will continue to work as a professor of computer science at Oxford.
However the acquisition of the British firm is related to gain access to only its research output and Waymo does not intend to launch its self-driving taxis in the UK. The company said those plans are strictly intended to be implemented in Phoenix, Arizona, where the company had recently began to operate self driving cats in a completely driverless manner and transporting paying passengers around the city without the presence of any human inside the cars.
(Adapted from TheGuradian.com)