Toyota recently announced that they are putting together a $100 million fund to begin investing into self-driving vehicles and robotic technology based companies.
Toyota's AI Venture, a subsidiary of the automaker, intends to invest in early startup companies that are focused on changing the industry and the technologies it uses.
“Auto manufacturers must participate in the startup ecosystem to stay ahead of the rapid shift in the auto industry,” Jim Adler, Managing Director of Toyota AI Ventures said.
They also stated that the fund is apart of their focus on finding the next generation of mobility and transportation. AI Ventures has already invested $200 million in 19 autonomous driving startup companies within the past two years.
“The growing interest in automated systems has created great opportunities to improve human lives using AI and next-generation mobility technology,” Dr. Gill Pratt, Chief Executive Officer at the Toyota Research Institute, said. Pratt also stated that the fund will help bring car makers and technology developers together to create new self-driving options.
All of this is part of Toyota's push and investment in autonomous technology. Last month, the company teamed up with car parts maker Denso and announced they will be investing $667 million into Uber's autonomous driving unit. Toyota said they will also continue to invest another $300 million into Uber's autonomous efforts during the next three years.
During last year's Consumer Electronics Show, Toyota revealed their own autonomous vehicle for delivering food named the e-Pallette. The e-Pallete came from their partnership with retail giant Amazon in an effort to help them both find new ways to delivery food.
Toyota isn't the auto maker trying to push into the automated vehicles industry. BMW, Ford, and Daimler are all finding ways to get into market. Last month, Ford stated they hope to have 100 autonomous cars on the road by the end of the year and that they will be building a new factory focused on making self-driving cars. Daimler and BMW also recently stated that they are teaming together to create new self-driving technologies.