#Asia Brief: Preferred Networks raises US$95m from Toyota for self-driving tech


Toyota’s self-driving car. Photo credit: Toyota Global.

Japan-based Preferred Networks uses real-time machine learning algorithms for devices, especially in the industrial and manufacturing spaces.

Competitors: Nuro.ai, Drive.ai, Autox.ai

How it compares to competitors: Preferred Networks doesn’t just focus on one industry. It works on projects across several, including healthcare, retail, and network security – apart from autonomous cars.

Traction: The round makes the company one of Japan’s most well-funded startups. It also plays on a global level – it took home second place in Amazon’s robot picking challenge last year.

Funding details

Amount raised: US$95.4 million
Funding stage: Undisclosed
Investor: Toyota Motor Corporation
Investment type: Equity
Purpose: The investment will further spur Toyota’s and Preferred Networks’ joint research and development of AI tech in mobility-related fields like autonomous driving. To date, their R&D has focused on object recognition and analysis of vehicle information.
Total disclosed funding to date: US$116.4 million

Converted from Japanese yen. Rate: US$1 = JPY 110.1.

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