Carmakers Must Hunt For Autonomous Innovators, Says Toyota

Toyota’s US investment arm has created a $100M war-chest in its hunt for innovators to in AI related driverless and robotics technology.

The Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Toyota AI Ventures, has announced Fund II, targeting investment in early-stage start-ups developing disruptive business models. The new fund doubles the level of investment the carmaker has made under the umbrella of its Toyota Research Institute (TRI) which has already invested $100M in 19 start-ups during the past 24 months.

The latest AI focused move hopes to explore the areas of robotics in everyday tasks; cognitive AI robotics; electric vertical take-off passenger airplanes; Level 4 driverless shuttles and maritime autonomous navigation systems.

TRI managing director Jim Adler, said: “Auto manufacturers must participate in the start-up ecosystem to stay ahead of the rapid shift in the auto industry. Investing in start-ups creates long-term relationships that help Toyota explore the latest innovations in mobility.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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