Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has been pushing the self-driving car industry through its subsidiary, Waymo, the Guardian reported. To date, the company has operated mainly in the United States. But Waymo recently bought LateLogic, a British artificial intelligence company that specializes in testing self-driving cars, signalled its interest in international expansion.
The artificial intelligence technology developed by Latent Logic simulates human behavior by “simulating learning” and can be used to test cars. Most companies or research institutions train artificial intelligence through “enhanced learning”, where artificial intelligence is programmed to give answers to questions that are either correct or wrong. Over time, intensive artificial intelligence can learn the right answer faster.
However, this “enhanced learning” approach to training artificial intelligence can be quite inefficient. By contrast, “simulated learning” allows machines to mimic human behavior and learn more obscure knowledge, allowing artificial intelligence to get the best solution smodels faster. Waymo can use this technology to train self-driving cars by allowing artificial intelligence to simulate complex human behaviors, such as car-to-car collisions, or pedestrians in an unexpected place in front of the car.
Latent Logic is based in Oxford, England, a city that has, to some extent, become the centre of global research on self-driving cars. For example, Oxbotica, a local self-driving software company, has tested driverless delivery cars, driverless taxis and driverless shuttles; BAE Systems has teamed up with researchers at The University of Oxford to drive off-road racing Wildcat was transformed into a large self-driving car. Meanwhile, Oxford University is looking at self-driving cars.
The acquisition of Latelogic gives Alphabet a foothold in a key part of the UK and access to local talent. Drago Anguelov, Waymo’s chief scientist and head of research and development, told the Guardian: “We see exciting opportunities in Europe to continue our partnership with major car manufacturers. You can also benefit from the world-class technical and engineering capabilities of Oxford University and other local institutions. “
Waymo has no plans to launch a self-driving car service in the UK, but the company has confirmed plans to operate in Europe in the future.