Google’s AI pursuit continues with stake in German research centre

9 Oct 2015

Google has invested in DFKI, which has facilities throughout Germany, including here at Saarbrucken

Google’s thirst for more and more AI expertise shows no signs of receding, with the company investing in the German research centre for AI (DFKI). This follows recent similar moves from some of its rivals.

In the past week, Apple has snapped up Perceptio and VocalIQ, the former specialising in AI image-classification systems and the latter in natural language processing.

Not to be outdone, Google’s German division has joined 16 other outfits by investing in DFKI, with the likes of Airbus, BMW, Intel, Microsoft, Nuance and SAP also involved.

“We want to make the internet of things to our advantage,” said the DFKI’s press release. “The partnership between DFKI and Google offers good development prospects for this.”

“The global market presence of Google opens up a unique opportunity,” adds the organisation, which claims that this is the first time that Google has both invested in, and gotten on the board of, a research body in Europe.

Google’s drive into AI is nothing new. At the start of 2014, the company beat off competition from Facebook to buy AI experts DeepMind Technologies for more than US$500m.

So in demand was the three-year-old company, Google’s CEO Larry Page led the acquisition himself.

Since then Google has aggressively developed its translation software, while pouring huge resources into its autonomous vehicle project.

Facebook, for its part, has bought up its own speech specialising business, acquiring earlier this year, before launching an AI lab in Paris over the summer.

IoT Makers Week explores the internet of things revolution and the makers driving it with reports on from 5 to 9 October 2015. Get updates by subscribing to our news alerts or following @siliconrepublic and the hashtag #IoTMakersWeek on Twitter.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic