A newly announced acquisition of an AI firm points to the growing role of artificial intelligence in retail.
The purchaser is Bossa Nova, a US company focused on retail analytics, with offices in San Francisco, Mountain View, and Pittsburgh. And the AI firm it has acquired is HawXeye, which branched off from Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Biometrics Center in 2014. While HawXeye says its technology has been used in national security applications by the FBI and the Department of Defense, it has aimed primarily at smart home and smart retail applications as its main line of business. Its 52 core IP holdings pertaining to things like deep learning, 3D modelling, object recognition, and so on, now belong to Bossa Nova.
As part of the acquisition deal, HawXeye founder Prof. Marios Savvides has now joined Bossa Nova as its Chief AI Scientist, where he will be responsible for “advancing AI capabilities within the retail environment, resulting in precise product recognition at large scale, highly accurate identification of out-of-stock and misplaced products,” according to a statement announcing the arrangement.
Explaining the collaboration more fully, Prof. Savvides said that the combination of Bossa Nova’s “fully autonomous service robots” with HawXeye’s AI technology “can unlock unprecedented levels of accuracy, reliability, and scale in retail scene understanding.”
The deal also establishes Bossa Nova as an official partner of Carnegie Mellon’s CyLab, where Prof. Savvides will continue to lead research into AI and machine vision.