Lyft, the transportation on demand firm that’s heading to a $15 billion IPO in 2019, is racing forward with its autonomous automobile plans. TechCrunch has realized that it’s buying the London-based augmented actuality startup Blue Vision Labs and unveiling its first take a look at automobile with Ford to advance its imaginative and prescient for self-driving automobiles.

The first Ford automobile from Lyft’s Level 5 self-driving initiative would be the Ford Fusion Hybrid. It’s the end result of a yearlong partnership the 2 corporations had introduced final September and will probably be hitting metropolis streets “soon” the corporate mentioned.

The Ford Fusion (now with Lyft autonomy!)

While the mixing of Lyft’s autonomous applied sciences and Ford’s is spectacular, maybe extra significant is the corporate’s acquisition of Blue Vision Labs, a startup out of London that has developed a manner of ingesting street-level imagery and is utilizing it to construct collaborative, interactive augmented actuality layers — all by the use of primary smartphone cameras.

Blue Vision will sit inside Lyft’s Level 5 autonomous automobile division headed up by Luc Vincent (who joined the corporate final 12 months as VP of engineering after creating and working Google Street View).

The startup and its employees of 39 (everyone seems to be becoming a member of Lyft) may even develop into the anchor for a brand new R&D operation in London or the San Francisco-based firm, targeted on that autonomous driving effort. Level 5 is stepping up a gear in one other manner at present, too: Lyft is unveiling a brand new automobile that will probably be utilizing for testing.

Blue Vision has developed expertise that gives each avenue degree mapping and interactive augmented actuality that lets two individuals see the identical digital objects. The firm has already constructed extremely detailed maps that builders can now use to develop collaborative AR experiences — it’s just like the maps of those areas develop into canvasses for digital objects to be painted on. Over time, we may even see numerous makes use of of it all through the Lyft platform, however for now the primary focus is Level 5.

“We are looking forward to focusing Blue Vision’s technology on building the best maps at scale to support our autonomous vehicles, and then localization to support our stacks,” Vincent mentioned in an interview. “This is fundamental to our business. We need good maps and to understand where every passenger and vehicle is. To make our services more efficient and remove friction, we want their tech to drive improvements.”

People conversant in the acquisition inform us Blue Vision is being acquired for round $72…

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