Baidu Acquires AI Start-Up Raven Tech
Baidu has announced its acquisition of Beijing startup Raven Tech for its artificial intelligence advocacy.
The financial aspect of acquisition was not disclosed but it comes after Baidu hired AI expert Qi Lu of Microsoft. It acquired both products and 60 staff of Raven Tech.
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Raven Tech’s Flow product is like a Chinese version of Siri, but it has failed to take off. The AI-based voice assistant of the company supports services from third-party apps. It features a minimalist black-white interface with simple voice command that helps users to have an all-in-one experience - music playing, finding restaurants and others.
Founded in 2014, Raven Tech is engaged in AI technology that especially applied to smart home systems. The Beijing-based startup hails its AI assistant a “next-generation operating system” because it can be accessed on multiple devices. The company follows Amazon’s path as it launched its own home assistant gadget in the like of Echo, which it put up for crowdfunding in December 2016.
Founder of Raven Tech Cheng Lu will head its smart home device business. On the other hand, Qi Lu will be the chief operating officer leading the company’s products, technology, sales, and marketing and operations divisions. Cheng Lu will report directly to Lu Qi, as both are pushing Baidu into AI and self-driving cars.
“It (the Raven acquisition) is key for Baidu to have a leading position in human/machine interaction and built up core strength in software and hardware integration,” Lu Qi said in an internal statement to staff on the acquisition.
Moreover, Baidu also announced a new business unit for its Duer digital assistant and related products like its augmented reality platform. The said assistant was unveiled back in September 2015 as an important innovation for integration in