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Apple Acquires French Startup Behind AI And Computer Vision Tech

Team Gossip  |   Apr 24, 7:18 AM   |   6 min read

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Highlights

  • Apple has reportedly bought out Datakalab, a French-based startup specializing in AI compression and computer vision tech.

  • Datakalab has positined itself as “experts in low power, runtime efficient, and deep learning algorithms” that work on device.

  • Datakalab joined forces with the French government in May 2020 to deploy AI tools into Paris transportation.

Apple has reportedly bought out Datakalab, a French-based startup specializing in AI compression and computer vision tech. As per French business magazine Challenges, the takeover was finalized in December last year.

 

Datakalab has positioned itself as “experts in low power, runtime efficiency, and deep learning algorithms” that work on devices. On the company’s LinkedIn page, the company notes that “industry-leading compression and adaptation to deploy embedded computer vision that is fast, cost-effective, and precise.” Before Apple took over the business, the company had around 10-20 employees.

 

Datakalab’s now-disabled website:

 

“Datakalab is a French technology company that develops computer image analysis algorithms to measure flows in public space. The images are instantly transformed into anonymized statistical data processed locally in 100ms. Datakalab does not store any images or personal data and only keeps statistical data. Datakalab products are built according to the principle of “Privacy by Design”.

 

Also Read: Apple Issues ‘Mercenary Spyware’ Attack Warning To iPhone Users

 

Datakalab Joined French Government To Deploy AI Tools

 

Datakalab joined forces with the French government in May 2020 to deploy AI tools into Paris transportation systems to keep track of how many people were wearing face masks. Datakalab also teamed up with Disney and other partners in the past.

 

While the acquisition hasn’t been acknowledged by either Apple or DatakaLab, the report claims that the deal was reported to the European Commission in April. The report suggests that the startup’s two founders did not join Apple, but a few other employees did make the switch. The startup also held multiple patents related to AI compression and vision tech.

 

The takeover comes as the Cupertino-based tech giant brings a suite of AI tools to iOS 18 later this year. Datakalab also created advanced vision-based tech, which could play a role in the next iteration of Apple’s Vision Pro. Moreover, Apple’s advanced facial recognition technology could also come in handy to things like FaceID and Photos.

 

Also Read: Apple Planning To Upgrade Macs With AI-Powered M4 Chips

 

Apple’s iOS 18 To Bring A Host Of AI Features

 

There have been a lot of rumors and speculations about several AI features coming to the next operating system - iOS 18. Reports have suggested that Apple is marketing the next operating system as the biggest iOS update” ever, powered by AI features.

 

Mark Gurman reported last July that Apple is working on its own LLM (Large Language Model), which could be dubbed as AppleGPT. The project uses a framework called “Ajax” which Apple started building back in 2022 to base various ML projects on a shared basis. The framework will serve as the foundation for Apple’s upcoming AI features across all its platforms.

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