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Cox acquires AI/3D scanner maker Fyusion to aid used car dealerships

When car dealers sell new vehicles, customers can rely on manufacturer-provided 3D models that look exactly like the cars they’re about to purchase. But that isn’t the case for used cars, which commonly have dings and other issues that must be disclosed to prospective buyers. To aid in the vehicle imaging and disclosure process, media conglomerate Cox Enterprises today announced it is acquiring Fyusion, a maker of AI and 3D capture tools, to help auto dealers rapidly scan used cars for resale.

Atlanta-based Cox is primarily known for its communications division, which offers internet services in 18 states, and its automotive arm, which owns over two dozen car media brands, ranging from Autotrader to Kelley Blue Book and Manheim. Fyusion’s scanning technology is already being used in Cox’s Manheim Express app for smartphones, enabling dealerships to create high-resolution exterior and interior car scans for listings. And it will become available to a wider range of dealers, commercial clients, and end users following the acquisition.

Cox’s purchase of Fyusion is significant for technical decision-makers because it demonstrates the critical importance of computer vision solutions to enterprises — in this case, both large automotive dealers and the companies that cater to them, as used car purchasing increasingly relies on digital assessments ahead of or instead of in-person inspections. By delivering “3D images with AI superpowers,” Fyusion and Cox expect to offer potential customers consistent and accurate reports of vehicle damage and its severity, impacting everything from dealer inventory merchandising to wholesale auctions, online retail marketplaces, and car rentals, as well as inspections and insurance for used cars.

Fyusion’s early work for Manheim Express enabled the app to create 360-degree, movable exterior images of cars — an industry first, the company claims. This has since been augmented by 360-degree interior imaging and easily discoverable audio and visual tags that can highlight elements of a vehicle’s condition. Sample videos include a rotating preview of a used Porsche 911 that clearly discloses a scratch on the headlight and similarly detailed views of the interior of a Lexus, captured with a tripod-mounted phone camera.

San Francisco-based Fyusion has been developing mobile augmented reality content creation tools for seven years and holds over 130 patents on technologies related to 3D imaging. In 2019, it moved into the ecommerce and fashion industries to pursue more lucrative opportunities, and its AI-based Light Field Information Suite is now used by companies ranging from Cox to Japan’s Itochu and Lotte for digital merchandising and automated damage detection.

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