Toyota Looks to Fund Startup Robotics
Designed to spur entrepreneurial innovation by identifying key technology gaps.
Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Toyota AI Ventures has unveiled a global in partnership with the Toyota Research Institute (TRI).
Designed to spur entrepreneurial innovation by identifying key technology gaps, the initiative uses a call-and-response approach to offer promising startups the opportunity to secure from $500,000 to $2 million in venture capital funding from Toyota AI Ventures, as well as the possibility of partnering on a proof of concept project with TRI.
The first call, developed in conjunction with TRI’s world-class robotics group, focuses on improving mobile manipulation technology for assistive robots that can help people in and around the home.
Future calls may address technology challenges in other areas that TRI is working on as part of its research in robotics and automated driving, such as perception, machine learning, or simulation.
This first call for innovation is open to hardware and software startups around the world that have:
(1) raised less than $3 million in funding;
(2) can demonstrate their solution via a working prototype; and
(3) have a strong business model to deliver value to customers.
Examples of mobile manipulation solutions in hardware include safe, lightweight arms; grippers designed for common daily tasks; and technologies for better tactile sensing.
Software solutions could include ways to compensate for lower-precision, lower-fidelity hardware; algorithms to learn from or annotate data; and ways to apply lessons learned from simulation.
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