Ambarella Inc. has acquired automotive vision firm VisLab SRL of Parma, Italy, for $30 million. The acquisition moves Ambarella, a developer of video compression and image processing systems, into the driverless car market. VisLab was spun out of the University of Parma in 2009 and is managed by professor Alberto Broggi. In 2010, the company completed an autonomous vehicle test drive of 15,000 km from Parma to Shanghai. "We have constantly improved our technology through a series of road tests, such as the 2013 tour of Parma [from the University Campus to Piazzale della Pilotta] made by an autonomous self-driving vehicle without any human intervention," Broggi said. "Now, we are ready for industrialization." VisLab's latest prototype, DEEVA, is equipped with more than 20 video cameras and four laser scanners, as well as a global positioning system and inertial sensors. These make the vehicle capable of perceiving and interpreting real-time movements and objects around it, and consequently deciding autonomously where to move and at what speed. Autonomous vehicles could improve road safety by reducing accidents attributable to distracted or irresponsible driving, according to VisLab. "Computer vision is an area of significant focus for Ambarella, and will be critical to our current video markets, as well as future markets such as automotive OEM cameras," said Ambarella CEO Fermi Wang. VisLab will remain in Italy, where it is expected to continue R&D and expand its workforce. Its 27 current researchers will join Ambarella’s advanced computer vision development team. For more information, visit www.ambarella.com and www.vislab.it.