South Korea-headquartered Samsung acquired local artificial intelligence (AI) start-up Fluenty to beef up its Bixby voice recognition system, Yonhap News Agency reported.
The deal, which closed for an undisclosed amount, is Samsung’s first acquisition of a South Korean start-up, the news agency said.
Fluenty was set up in 2015 by former employees from LG Electronics, Naver and Kakao along with local accelerator FuturePlay. It developed an AI-based chat platform which uses machine learning technology to suggest responses.
Samsung first unveiled Bixby in March, and it is now available in in 200 countries and territories, the company said. The voice-based assistant positions Samsung firmly against Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana.
Last week the smartphone giant detailed plans to establish an AI research facility, while in October it opened an AI development lab in Canada to accelerate development of the technology. In 2016 the company acquired AI platform developer Viv Labs for a sum thought to be in the region of $215 million.