Apple’s on a buying spree as it ramps up its efforts in the tech industry’s latest arms race: Artificial intelligence.
Bloomberg reports that Apple has bought Perceptio, a company that makes image-recognition technology for smartphones, its second AI deal in four days.
Perceptio was developing “deep learning” technology for smartphones, that allowed phones to independently identify images without relying on external data libraries, Bloomberg said.
Deep learning is a specialized field of artificial intelligence that’s all the rage now. It allows machines to recognize patterns and learn on their own.
Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly vital as companies roll out and seek to improve “virtual assistant” services such as Apple’s Siri and Google Now.
Apple may also be looking at AI to help with its plans to build a self-driving car. Apple is reportedly planning to enter the car business in 2019 with an electric—non-self-driving—car.
On Friday, Apple acquired another AI company: VocalIQ, a UK-based startup developing technology to help computers understand human speech. Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are all engaged in an AI arms race, hiring experts in the field from academia and acquiring specialized startups.