Niantic acquires 6D.ai

3D Spatial Mapping Leader joins Niantic Labs in an effort to accelerate Real-World AR innovation

In a blog post published on March 31st, Niantic Labs announced their acquisition of 6D.ai, a leader in the 3D spatial mapping field.

6D.ai is one of the pioneers in building a 3D map of the world, powered by advanced computer vision technology that allows crowdsourced mapping of real world environments. If it sounds crazy, that’s because it is. Check out this demo clip of four people mapping an entire apartment floor in minutes:

6D.ai’s software allows a crazy variety of use cases, many of which can be translated into product ideas for Pokémon GO and Wizards Unite:

  • Create a 3D digital map of physical space and export that to third party editing tools for markup and then view that virtual markup in the real space.
  • Capture real-time 3D scans, or “digital twins,” of a space by using just smartphone cameras.
  • Provide navigation and accurate location information for and about people in your space, without GPS.
  • Create AR maps for a variety of use cases such as finding conference rooms in corporate campuses, tracking workers for safety purposes in industrial environments, building tours in museums and more.

Maybe next year the GO Fest map will be virtual, maybe we will scan our living room and use it as a virtual Day Care for our Pokémon, maybe we will play around in malls as naturally as we play outdoors.

We’re curious to see where this leads us, but more specifically, how does this affect the future of AR games in general.

It seems that we’re just steps away from having the capability to create a 3D map of the entire world – which is quite insane if you think about it.

This TechCrunch interview with 6D’s CEO is quite interesting if you have 20 minutes to watch:

Miesnieks also shared this in 6D’s official acquisition blog post:

“Our team will continue to be laser focused on building the 3D map of the world and finding the best way to bring those tools to the developer community so that everyone can benefit from the potential of AR. We want to send a sincere thank you to all the early developers who dove into our SDK, gave feedback, posted demo videos and even launched apps — it was truly incredible to see all of your great work and watch our technology come to life. In order to focus on merging our technology into Niantic’s global-scale mapping and AR platform, we will be winding down our current developer tools over the next 30 days, and will shift focus to how we can help developers build realistic AR applications through the Niantic Real World Platform.”

About 6D.ai

Founded in 2017, 6D.ai was spun out from Oxford University’s Active Vision Lab, building computer vision-based technologies and developer tools that solve fundamental AR problems, such as 3D reconstruction and AR persistence. These and many other AR features are important parts of the Niantic experience, in service of Niantic’s player and developer communities.

For the people who play Niantic games today, it means more beloved AR experiences to come, and for Niantic developers, an innovative platform to bring their AR visions to life.

Antonio started the Hub in July 2016 and hasn't had much sleep since. Software developer. Discord username: Zeroghan. 28 years old.