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Toyota to boost investment in AI by strengthening relationship with Preferred Networks

With the aim of promoting the joint research and development of artificial intelligence technologies in mobility-related fields, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has decided to in Preferred Networks Inc. (). The investment will amount to ¥1 billion (US$8.2 million), and Toyota will receive stock in PFN through the allocation of new shares to a third party as of 30 December 2015.

TMC is actively researching and developing a wide-range of technologies that are expected to significantly affect the nature of mobility in the future—including automated driving technologies—with a particular focus on intelligence that assists driving, connectivity and interactivity. (Earlier post.)

With this shared purpose in mind, PFN would like to plan and develop new products and services by leveraging its expertise and unique technological capabilities in the field of artificial intelligence, including adopting and expanding on its cutting-edge machine and deep learning technologies in industrial applications. With this investment, the collaboration between PFN and TMC in mobility-related businesses will be strengthened.

TMC plans to carry out a demonstration of distributed machine learning at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2016 in Las Vegas, which will run from 6-9 January. The demonstration will showcase a concept that features a potential automotive application of PFN’s technology, where multiple vehicles learn not to collide with each other.

PFN is a venture firm with world-class technological capabilities in the fields of natural language processing and machine learning. The firm was established in March 2014 as a spin-off from Preferred Infrastructure, Inc. PFN’s aim is to apply real-time machine learning technologies to new applications in the emerging field of the Internet of Things.

In November, TMC announced that it was establishing a new company, Toyota Research Institute Inc. (TRI), as an R&D enterprise with an initial focus on artificial intelligence and robotics.

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