Intel to acquire computer vision firm Itseez

In its bid to evolve as something more than a PC company, Intel yesterday announced it was acquiring Itseez, a computer vision firm with expertise in embedded and specialised hardware.

"This acquisition furthers Intel's efforts to win in IoT market segments like automotive and video, where the ability to electronically perceive and understand images paves the way for innovation and opportunity," Doug Davis, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's IoT group, wrote in a blog post.

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

According to Davis, Intel had already started building up its portfolio for the automotive market, acquiring capabilities like functional safety and over-the-air software management.

He added that the appeal of the market was clear, in view of the potential of self-driving vehicles to deliver $507 billion in annual productivity gains, according to Morgan Stanley estimates.

Automakers and technology companies had so far sourced technology for self-driving cars from only a few firms. The company Mobileye, which produced real-time, vision-based collision avoidance camera systems, had partnered with a number of major automotive companies, including Volkswagen, BMW and GM.

Also other chipmakers like Nvidia were working on technology to interpret data from cameras on cars.

The San Francisco-based, 2005-founded Itseez, makes computer vision algorithms and software, which include a suite of algorithms for automobiles it calls ''advanced driver assistance systems.'' The algorithms enable car hardware to recognise pedestrians and traffic signs and warn about potential collisions.

The acquisition of Itseez comes a month after Intel's announcement of the purchase of Yogitech, another Internet of Things-related company. Yogitech which is based in Italy works on functional safety for semiconductors (which meant its tech ensured that the chips powering autonomous vehicles worked properly).

Intel last year also bought Lantiq, which makes chips for smart objects. Intel is also a maker of chips, software, and a development kit for self-driving cars.