Uber buys Geometric Intelligence to accelerate AI research

Posted: 7 December 2016 | By Darcie Thompson-Fields

Uber has announced the creation of a new business division called Uber AI Lab, which will dedicated to bringing “cutting edge” AI and machine learning to the company.

The announcement follows the acquisition of San Francisco based startup Geometric Intelligence – which specialises in machine learning. The cost has not be revealed.

All 15 staff at Geometric have been retained, including its founding CEO Garry Marcus (pictured) who will head up the division.


Faster, safer, more accessible 

Uber chief product offer Jeff Holden said the creation of the Lab is part of the firms vision to help move people and things around the world “radically” faster more safely and accessible for all through use of technology and data.

“In spite of notable wins with machine learning in recent years, we are still very much in the early innings of machine intelligence,” said Holden.  “Uber is in the business of using technology to move people and things in the real world.

“With all of its complexity and uncertainty, negotiating the real world is a high-order intelligence problem. It manifests in myriad ways, from determining an optimal route to computing when your car or UberEATS order will arrive to matching riders for uberPOOL.

“It extends to teaching a self-driven machine to safely and autonomously navigate the world, whether a car on the roads or an aircraft through busy airspace or new types of robotic devices.”


The capture of Geometric Intelligence marks the third major acquisition from Uber in the past 18 months.

In March last year it bought San Jose based deCarta . The firm provides geospatial software platforms that power internet, mobile, personal navigation, and location-based service applications.

In August it spent $680 million on San Francisco based self driving haulage transportation firm Otto.

Otto and Uber recently teamed up with Budweiser to complete the world’s first delivery using a self-driving truck on a 120-mile journey between Fogrt Collins, through Denver to Colorado Springs with no driver. See video below.



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