What happened: Chinese AI surveillance company Megvii will join forces with Austrian sensor manufacturer Ams AG to make what it claims will be the first off-the-shelf facial recognition solutions that don’t rely on smartphones. The standalone plug-and-play 3D suite, featuring Ams AG’s laser technology with Megvii’s facial algorithms, will focus on smart home, retail, security applications.
Why it’s important: Once referred to as “China’s rising AI star,” Megvii, which reached a $4 billion valuation in May, has recently entered choppier waters. The firm’s role in China’s state-level surveillance has attracted criticism from abroad since a March report stated Megvii was seeking an $800 million IPO listing. Many speculate that China’s surveillance players could soon face a US administration ban similar to that of Huawei. As a result, anonymous insider sources claim it is rethinking its listing altogether. Despite the turmoil, Megvii appears committed to partnerships and product development, this time with a European partner.