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Toyota AI Ventures has already invested in 19 different companies.
are out there, too, and getting big investment money from an automaker can easily propel that company to the forefront of a specific technology.Toyotashoping it can find that next big thing with another injection of cash into its venture fund.
Toyota AI Ventures, a subsidiary of the Toyota Research Institute established in 2017, announced on Thursday that it has created a new $100 million fund for future investments. The money will go toward startups working to develop technology and business models for futureautonomous vehicles.
Auto manufacturers must participate in the startup ecosystem to stay ahead of the rapid shift in the auto industry, said Jim Adler, managing director of Toyota AI Ventures, in a statement. Investing in startups creates long-term relationships that help Toyota explore the latest innovations in mobility.
With this new cash injection, Toyota AI Ventures is managing more than $200 million in investment assets. Its already invested in 19 different companies, includingJoby Aviation(electric VTOL aircraft),May Mobility(Level 4 autonomous shuttles) andSea Machines(maritime autonomy), proving that its investments need not be related to cars specifically. If it involves anything tangentially related to transportation, Toyota AI Ventures might have an interest in it.
That doesnt mean Toyota isnt doing its own work, too. In fact, Toyota Research Institute broughtthe latest version of its autonomous development vehicle toCES2019. Called the TRI-P4, its based on aLexus LS500h. Development is focused on two AV systems: Guardian seeks to enhance a driver by adding extra layers of safety, while Chauffeur is dedicated to full autonomy that removes the human driver from the equation.
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