Uber Acquires Mighty AI’s Platform, Team to Boost Self-Driving Taxi Efforts

Uber picked up a potentially sweet deal to help the ride company to speed up its ability to provide autonomous taxi service. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the acquisition of Mighty AI, which develops training for computer vision models, gives the company momentum in developing its self-driving cars.

“The team at Mighty AI has built technology to label at scale using the latest AI and user experience techniques,” said Jon Thomason, vice president of software engineering for Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, in a statement. “Training our AI at increasing pace is critical to scaling our self-driving technology, and I look forward to bringing Mighty AI’s technology together with our existing labeling automation expertise to help us move even faster.”

Illustration of Mighty AI’s computer vision models.

Mighty AI, a Seattle company, raised $27 million from investors including Intel Capital, GV, Foundry Group, Madrona Venture Group, and New Enterprise Associates (NEA) last fall. Geekwire ranked it No. 104 on its GeekWire 200 list of top Pacific Northwest startups.

According to TheInformation.com, which broke the story last week, many of the more than 40 employees of Mighty AI will stay on at Uber, which will acquire all the company’s intellectual property. The website asserts that the acquisition benefits both parties by keeping Mighty AI’s tech relevant as the company struggled to remain competitive with other start-ups.

Mighty AI, by manually putting digital labels on data collected by autonomous vehicle sensors, helped developers train their computer vision algorithms to better identify objects on the road. Mighty AI was surpassed by Y Combinator-backed Scale API in terms of serving developers of robotaxis, The Information previously reported.

Uber plans to launch self-driving taxis in American cities by 2020, despite accidents that slowed down its original ambitious goals.