Waymo gobbles up British AI startup Latent Logic

Acquisition is the Alphabet subsidiary's first in the United Kingdom.

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Alphabet's autonomous vehicle subsidiary, Waymo, is broadening its business beyond the United States. According to The Guardian, Waymo just bought Latent Logic, a British startup focused on "imitation learning," which could help the company strengthen the technology required for its autonomous self-driving cars.

Latent Logic, which teaches machines to emulate actions by humans via observation, might help Waymo address the issues of autonomous vehicular accidents, navigating unexpected traffic, handling pedestrians, and more.

What will change? — In an official statement provided to The Guardian, Waymo noted that “the team’s expertise in reinforcement learning and imitation learning can help further accelerate Waymo’s progress in areas from simulation to behavior prediction and planning.” This first chapter in Oxford could mark the beginning of more Waymo expansion in Europe.

“By joining Waymo, we are taking a big leap towards realizing our ambition of safe, self-driving vehicles,” Latent Logic’s chief scientist Shimon Whiteson said, per TechCrunch. “In just two years, we have made significant progress in using imitation learning to simulate real human behaviors on the road. I’m excited by what we can now achieve in combining this expertise with the talent, resources and progress Waymo have already made in self-driving technology.”

Although Waymo hasn’t stated any plans for introducing self-driving cars in the United Kingdom, it signed a deal with Groupe Renault and Nissan in June to bring driverless cars to France and Japan. The acquisition of Latent Logic is further evidence of Waymo's European ambitions.