Samsung announced plans to open three new artificial intelligence (AI) research centres in the UK, Canada and Russia, expanding beyond existing facilities in the US and South Korea as it aims to strengthen the capabilities of its Bixby assistant.
Researchers at the new hubs in Cambridge, Toronto and Moscow will focus on a range of development areas, including core AI technologies, algorithms and advanced capabilities. In a statement, Samsung explained the location of the new centres will enable collaboration with top AI experts and academics to further bolster its efforts.
Andrew Blake, head of Samsung’s new Cambridge centre, said research conducted at the facility will “help us to better understand human behaviour, while exploring areas like emotion recognition, and further expand the boundaries of user-centric communication”.
The facilities add to Samsung AI centres opened in Seoul, South Korea in November 2017 and Silicon Valley, US in January 2018. The company said the three new sites are part of an effort grow its total number of AI research staff to 1,000 globally by 2020.
Samsung’s big AI push comes as the company aims to integrate the technology across all of its product lines – including TVs and home appliances – via the Bixby personal assistant by 2020.
Bixby made its debut on the Galaxy S8 in March 2017 as Samsung’s answer to smart assistants from Apple, Google and Amazon. In October, Samsung promised an update would deliver a “fundamental leap forward for digital assistants” by providing enhanced natural language capabilities, ubiquitous control across connected devices and an open ecosystem for developers.
The Korea Herald reported Bixby 2.0 will launch with the Galaxy Note 9 smartphone later this year.
But Samsung isn’t the only one ramping its AI efforts. Earlier this month, Facebook said it would open two new AI labs in the US, while Amazon revealed plans to significantly increase the number of engineers working on its Alexa voice assistant.