Both Toyota and Google have announced funds to invest in artificial intelligence ventures. The car maker says it has put aside $100 million via the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), an AI-, robotics- and autonomous car-focused project launched in 2015, while Google has yet to put a number of the size of its new initiative.
The Toyota fund has already made initial investments in three tech companies – Nauto (US), SLAMcore (UK) and Intuition Robotics (Israel) – and the venture will also serve to cultivate start-ups by offering them mentorship and support onsite at TRI's Silicon Valley HQ.
“Toyota has a history of disruptive innovation in the service of mankind, moving from textile machinery to automobiles in the late-thirties, to the broad electrification of the automobile with Prius in the 90’s, to autonomous mobility and human-assist robots,” says Gill Pratt, CEO of TRI.
Google is making its AI play through the brand new Gradient Ventures venture fund, providing portfolio companies with capital and resources, along with dedicated access to experts and bootcamps in AI. The company will take a minority stake in the start-ups in which it invests.
“Our portfolio is already growing, and our first companies are making progress, including Algorithmia, a marketplace for algorithms and functions, and Cogniac, a suite of tools used to create and manage visual models,” Google explains.