12 July 2017, India:
Toyota Research Institute (TRI) is investing an initial $100 million in launching Toyota AI Ventures, a new corporate venture capital subsidiary designed to provide early-stage financing to startup technology companies.
— TRI (@ToyotaResearch) July 11, 2017
Jim Adler will serve as managing director of the fund. He has been serving as vice president of Toyota Research and comes from a product background. Adler and the rest of the team at Toyota AI Ventures have made three investments to date. These include:
Nauto — Developing driverless car technology
Based in Silicon Valley, Nauto provides a technology system, designed for professional drivers and fleet managers, that monitors drivers and the road environment to prevent collisions, improve driver behavior, and learn from the diverse data shared across its smart cloud network.
SLAMcore — Building visual tracking and mapping algorithms
SLAMcore, based in Britain, develops advanced algorithms designed to help technology platforms like autonomous cars, drones and AR/VR systems to simultaneously build a map of their surroundings and position themselves within it.
Intuition Robotics — Creating a robot companion for older adults
Israel-based Intuition Robotics is a leader in the development of social companion technology, including its ElliQ active-aging robotic companion.
Toyota AI Ventures will offer TRI the opportunity to collaborate with talented entrepreneurs who prefer to work in a venture business environment. “Toyota has a history of disruptive innovation in the service of mankind, moving from textile machinery to automobiles in the late 30’s, to the broad electrification of the automobile with Prius in the 90’s, to autonomous mobility and human-assist robots,” said Gill Pratt, CEO of TRI. “TRI is growing quickly, and we recognize the critical importance of expanding our collaboration with the world’s brightest entrepreneurial talent. This venture is a major step towards our mission to empower talented entrepreneurs who share Toyota’s commitment to enhancing the quality of human life.