Deep learning startup Preferred Networks raises $95M from Toyota for self-driving tech

Image credit: Toyota Global Newsroom

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Preferred Networks (PFN), the Japanese startup offering deep learning technologies for Internet of Things (IoT), announced today that it would receive an additional 10.5 billion yen (about $95.4 million)investment from Toyota Motor (TSE:7203). The cash injection will make Toyota an eternal largest shareholder for PFN.  Based on this, both companies will further work on the joint development of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in autonomous driving and other mobility business fields.

Since its launch back in March of 2014, PFN has been proposing Edge Heavy Computing, the distributed data processing scheme dealing with an enormous volume of data from various IoT devices, aiming to let devices interact each others so that each device can autonomously make a higher level decision making. The company has been focused on serving transportation, manufacturing and bio healthcare industries by partnering with Toyota, Fanac, National Cancer Center and other institutions.

This funding from Toyota follows the previous one receiving 1 billion yen in December of 2015 after both companies started joint research back in October of 2014.

According to the press release from PFN, the investment was led by Toyata’s understanding that object-recognition technology and analysis technology of vehicle information, both of which have been co-developed by the two, is something essential for the motor company looking into the next-gen mobility society. PFN will use the funds to enhance computational environment and accelerate talent acquisition.

Translated by Masaru Ikeda