Facebook acquired a visual-based positional tracking company called Scape Technologies, according to Techcrunch.
Scape Technologies was based in London and founded in 2016. It was working on a technology that could pinpoint location with better accuracy than just GPS. The company called this a “Visual Positioning Service,” which worked on computer vision and would allow developers to take advantage of highly accurate location data when building apps. On the website, Scape says that it was “harnessing AI to allow camera devices to recognize their surroundings, outdoors and at an infinite scale.”
The technology was initially developed with augmented reality apps in mind as well as other areas such as robotics. The end goal was to provide any camera-equipped machine the ability to interpret and understand its surroundings. When considered in that context, you might be able to guess why Facebook was interested in an acquisition.
Two Facebook representatives have now replaced Scape’s previous venture capital representatives on the board, with Facebook now owning more than 75% of the company, a majority control. Techcrunch pinned the price of the acquisition at “about $40 million.” Given the nature of the technology, Facebook could intend on integrating Scape Technologies’ SDK and engines into their own existing VR and AR technology, in some way or form. If Scape’s visual position service is as accurate as they claim, it could prove useful in Facebook’s headsets that use cameras to provide inside-out tracking to determine the player’s position.
The acquisition is the latest in a long line of purchases by Facebook to strengthen its position in VR and AR.