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Intel has acquired computer vision startup Itseez for an undisclosed price as it moves further in the Internet of Things and automotive electronics markets.

Doug Davis, senior vice president of the Internet of Things group at the world’s biggest chip maker, said in a blog post today that “Intel is transforming from a PC company to a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices. These devices will use the power of Intel technology to process data being generated from ‘things,’ connect to and learn from data being analyzed in the cloud, and deliver amazing new experiences.”

One of the Internet of Things (making ordinary objects smart and connected) projects that Intel is gearing up for is self-driving cars. Davis noted that Americans spend some 75 billion hours a year driving. Morgan Stanley estimates that self-driving vehicles could deliver $507 billion in annual productivity gains — to cite just one of the compelling benefits, he wrote.

“While the possibilities are exciting, the reality requires solving a myriad of technology challenges,” Davis wrote. “Solutions will need to seamlessly deliver a combination of compute, connectivity, security, machine learning, human machine interfaces and functional safety.”

Intel is adding new capabilities in cars such as functional safety and over-the-air software management, as well as the ability to see surroundings and interpret them.

Computer vision includes methods for acquiring, processing, analyzing, and understanding images from the real world in order to make informed decisions and automate actions. Computer vision technology is quickly becoming critical for the future of smart and connected “things” in autonomous vehicles, security systems, medical imaging, and more, Davis said.

Itseez creates software and integration for everything from cars to security systems. Davis said Itseez will become a key ingredient for Intel’s Internet of Things Group (IOTG) roadmap, and will help Intel’s customers create applications like autonomous driving, digital security and surveillance, and industrial inspection. Itseez is also a key contributor to computer vision standards initiatives including OpenCV and OpenVX.

“Together, we’ll step up our contribution to these standards bodies — defining a technology bridge that helps the industry move more quickly to OpenVX-based products,” Davis wrote.

In an interview with VentureBeat, Davis said that the Internet of Things has a few phases. It has to make everyday objects smart. It has to connect the unconnected. And it will enable devices to make real-time decisions based on their surroundings in an autonomous fashion.

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