Facebook Acquires Startup Working on Accuracy Beyond GPS Capabilities - Newslibre

Facebook Acquires Startup Working on Accuracy Beyond GPS Capabilities

Article sourced from AngelList

According to a regulatory filing, Facebook has acquired Scape Technologies, the London-based computer vision startup working on location accuracy beyond the capabilities of GPS.

A Companies House update reveals that Facebook Inc. now has majority control of the company (more than 75%). However, by looking at other filings, including a recent share issue, I understand the price could be about $40 million.

Further filings show that Scape’s previous venture capital representatives have resigned from the Scape board and are replaced by two Facebook executives.

Scape’s backers included Entrepreneur First (EF) — the startup is an alumnus of the company builder program — along with LocalGlobe, Mosaic Ventures, and Fly Ventures.

Founded in 2017, Scape Technologies was developing a “Visual Positioning Service” based on computer vision which lets developers build apps that require location accuracy far beyond the capabilities of GPS alone.

Facebook takes over majority shares of Scape Technologies

Facebook Acquires Startup Working on Accuracy Beyond GPS Capabilities - Newslibre
Scape Technologies, Facebook’s new acquisition wants to identify places using surrounding of area. (Image Credit: Somag News)

The technology initially targeted augmented reality apps, but also had the potential to be used to power applications in mobility, logistics, and robotics. More broadly, Scape wanted to enable any machine equipped with a camera to understand its surroundings.

Scape CEO and co-founder Edward Miller previously described Scape’s “Vision Engine” as a large-scale mapping pipeline that creates 3D maps from ordinary images and video. Camera devices can then query the Vision Engine using the startup’s “Visual Positioning Service” API to determine their exact location with far greater precision than GPS can ever provide. The Visual Positioning Service was made available to select developers via Scape’s SDK.

Meanwhile, the acquisition by Facebook, no matter what form it takes, looks like a good fit given the U.S. company’s investment in next-generation platforms, including Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). It is also another — perhaps, worrying — example of U.S. tech companies hoovering up U.K. machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) talent early.

A Facebook spokesperson provided the following statement: “We acquire smaller tech companies from time to time. We don’t always discuss our plans.”

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