Apple has acquired AI startup Xnor.ai, a source familiar with the matter told VentureBeat today. Xnor focuses on the efficient deployment of AI in edge devices like smartphones, cameras, and drones. Apple reportedly paid roughly $200 million for the company, according to Geekwire. Xnor’s technology could be used to improve Apple’s deployment of AI stored locally on devices or power edge computing in Apple’s Core ML 3 toolkit for app developers.

Interest in more efficient AI models has grown recently as a way to drive innovation, reduce costs, and reduce AI’s carbon footprint.

Last year, Xnor demonstrated its edge computing capabilities by slapping a solar panel on the back of an FPGA chip to power a computer vision model that needs no battery, and in May 2019, Xnor launched AI2Go, a platform for state-of-the-art edge computing.

Founded in 2017, Xnor is based in Seattle and took part in the Allen Institute for AI Incubator, an initiative from the nonprofit to encourage the growth of promising early-stage startups. Prior to the acquisition, Xnor raised about $14.6 million from investors including Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group and others.

VentureBeat’s AI Innovation Awards event named Xnor a promising AI startup in an inaugural event last summer.


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