Chinese start-up aims for AI on a chip


Beijing-based start-up Horizon Robotics claims it is on track to bring chips with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) technology to the market.

Founded in Beijing last July, Horizon Robotics is developing chips and software attempting to mimic the human brain solving abstract tasks.

“General processors are too slow for AI functions,” said chief executive officer Yu Kai.

“A dedicated chip will dramatically increase the speed of these functions.”

Yu said that the introduction of AI chips will improve voice and image recognition that is beyond the capabilities for regular computer programs. The goal for the company is to use the chips in future home appliances and cars to provide fast and intelligent response to user commands without an internet connection.

Yu said that the AI chips, which is expected to be commercially available in 18 months, would eliminate the issues cloud-based services face.

“Most AI services are based in the cloud, but what happens if the internet is slow or down?” said Yu in relation to Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ and Apple’s ‘Siri’.

“Our vision [of creating our own AI system-on-a-chip] is bold, but we need to control risks at the same time.”

Future devices will have an AI chip in order to perform more complex tasks needing greater intelligence, including speech, voice and vision recognition and machine-learning algorithms.