Apple has acquired UK-based voice technology startup VocalIQ, according to a report from the Financial Times. A spokesman for the Cupertino company has confirmed the buyout with the usual boilerplate statement of

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

But it’s not hard to imagine what Apple has planned for VocalIQ’s technology. The firm uses machine learning to build conversational virtual assistants similar to those seen in films like Iron Man and Her. Apple has long been interested in this space, as evidenced by the introduction of Siri in 2011, and its various iterations since.

Perhaps even more interesting is that VocalIQ has in the past partnered with General Motors and other manufacturers to implement its voice technology into vehicles. Apple of course currently offers a connected auto platform known as CarPlay, which is largely based on voice input, and rumor has it that it’s working on an electric car.

Source: Financial Times