Bloomberg Technology reports that Geometric Intelligence had 15 employees and was developing new machine-learning techniques inspired by cognitive science that rely on less data.
Chief Executive Officer Gary Marcus, an author and professor of psychology and neural science at New York University, will head the new research effort, called Uber AI Labs.
The lab will report to Jeff Holden, Uber's chief product officer. It will try to improve the algorithms Uber uses to match drivers with passengers, and seek new techniques for building self-driving cars.
An Uber spokesman declined to say how much the company spent to acquire the startup.
Besides, Marcus, Geometric Intelligence co-founders are Zoubin Ghahramani, a machine learning expert at the University of Cambridge, Kenneth Stanley, a computer science professor at the University of Central Florida, and neurolinguistics specialist Douglas Bemis.
Uber has invested heavily in self-driving cars.
The San Francisco-based company has built a massive research operation in Pittsburgh.
It hired professors from Carnegie Mellon University, an early hub for autonomous vehicle and robotics research.
This year, Uber bought autonomous trucking company Otto in a stock deal worth up to $680 million.
Machine learning is a field of AI that allows computers to analyze and adapt to new data without being explicitly programmed.
Uber already relies on these techniques to improve the way prices respond to supply and demand, and to better match riders and drivers.
Calculations for UberPOOL, the company's carpooling product, can be particularly complicated since the company has to match multiple passengers in different locations with the best-positioned drivers, updating calculations as their cars move around.
December 5, 2016 | Posted by Jeff Holden
I’m thrilled to make two announcements today. The first is the creation of Uber AI Labs, a new division of Uber, based in San Francisco, dedicated to cutting-edge research in artificial intelligence and machine learning. And the second is the acquisition of the AI research startup Geometric Intelligence, whose 15 members will form the initial core of the AI Labs team.
Uber is in the business of using technology to move people and things in the real world. With all of its complexity and uncertainty, negotiating the real world is a high-order intelligence problem. It manifests in myriad ways, from determining an optimal route to computing when your car or UberEATS order will arrive to matching riders for uberPOOL. It extends to teaching a self-driven machine to safely and autonomously navigate the world, whether a car on the roads or an aircraft through busy airspace or new types of robotic devices.
In spite of notable wins with machine learning in recent years, we are still very much in the early innings of machine intelligence. The formation of Uber AI Labs, to be directed by Geometric’s Founding CEO Gary Marcus, represents Uber’s commitment to advancing the state of the art, driven by our vision that moving people and things in the physical world can be radically faster, safer and accessible to all.
Please join me in welcoming the Geometric Intelligence team to Uber!
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