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Business

Toyota to plug up to $9m into Japanese AI startup

Tokyo-based developer licenses algorithms for image recognition, chatbots

TOKYO -- Toyota Motor plans to invest in Tokyo artificial-intelligence venture PKSHA Technology to help further R&D in automated driving and connected cars.

Founded in 2012, PKSHA will list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's Mothers market Sept. 22. Toyota intends to purchase up to 1 billion yen ($9.15 million) in newly issued stock. Assuming a share price of 1,690 yen, the automaker could emerge with just over a 4% stake.

PKSHA's businesses include licensing AI algorithms it develops for image recognition and chatbots. Toyota has joined forces with the company on research and development before and explored this spring the possibility of closer ties via an investment.

Advanced AI technology is a must for automated driving and connected cars, which demand rapid processing of massive volumes of data. The automaker launched the U.S.-based Toyota Research Institute in 2016 to handle R&D in artificial intelligence and is increasingly cooperating with startups and companies in other fields. This month, Toyota announced a roughly 10.5 billion yen additional investment in Tokyo-based AI developer Preferred Networks.

(Nikkei)

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