Toyota partners with AI startup Preferred Networks on building helper robots for humans

Toyota is enlisting the help of startup Preferred Networks, a Japanese company founded in 2014 with a focus on artificial intelligence and deep learning, to help move forward its goal of developing useful service robots that can assist people in everyday life. The two companies announced a partnership today to collaborate on research and development […]

Through a new partnership and $72 million in funding, LanzaTech expands its carbon capture tech

For nearly 15 years LanzaTech has been developing a carbon capture technology that can turn waste streams into ethanol that can be used for chemicals and fuel. Now, with $72 million in fresh funding at a nearly $1 billion valuation and a newly inked partnership with biotechnology giant Novo Holdings, the company is looking to […]

SoftBank announces AI-focused second $108 billion Vision Fund with LPs including Microsoft, Apple and Foxconn

SoftBank Group announced today that it will launch its second Vision Fund with participation from Apple, Foxconn, Microsoft and other tech companies and investors. Called the Vision Fund 2, the fund will focus on AI-based technology. SoftBank said the fund’s capital has reached about $108 billion, based on memoranda of understandings. SoftBank Group’s own investment […]

Standard Cognition lands $35M at $535M valuation to battle Amazon Go

EQT Ventures, Initialized Capital, CRV and Y Combinator have fueled Standard Cognition with another $35 million to help retailers battle Amazon. The deal values the San Francisco-based autonomous checkout startup, founded in 2017, at $535 million. Standard Cognition implants its AI-powered computer vision platform, which enables the autonomous checkout process, in brick-and-mortar stores. To date, […]

ispace Europe tapped by the European Space Agency for mission to extract water from the Moon

Space startup ispace, which is headquartered in Japan but has a European subsidiary based in Luxembourg, will take part in PROSPECT, a program run by the European Space Agency (ESA) that intends to extract water from the Moon’s southern pole, with a target mission date of 2024 or 2025. PROSPECT isn’t just a cool reference […]

Toyota invests $600 million in Didi, with the two setting up a new joint venture for driver services

Didi Chuxing announced today that it has received new investment totaling $600 million from Toyota Motor Corporation. As part of the deal, the two companies will also set up a joint venture with GAC Toyota Motor to provide vehicle-related services to drivers on Didi’s ride-sharing platform. GAC Toyota itself is a joint venture between Toyota […]

How US national security agencies hold the internet hostage

Three of Google’s planned submarine cables are on indefinite hold while Team Telecom investigates Mark Harris 23 hours Team Telecom, a shadowy US national security unit tasked with protecting America’s telecommunications systems, is delaying plans by Google, Facebook and other tech companies for the next generation of international fiber optic cables. Team Telecom comprises representatives […]

Snap turns to search giant Baidu to court Chinese advertisers

Two years have passed since Snap Inc first struck a deal with Baidu that authorized China’s largest search engine to be a reseller of Snapchat ads for companies in Greater China as well as Japan and South Korea, where Baidu runs a portfolio of mobile apps. This week, the pair announced they have renewed the […]

Toyota testing improved solar roof for electric cars that can charge while driving

Toyota is testing a new and improved version of the solar power cells it previously launched on the Japan-exclusive Prius PHV, in a pilot along with partners Sharp and Japanese national research organization NEDO. This demo car’s prototype cells can convert solar energy at 34% and up, which is much better than the existing commercial […]

PayU, Naspers’ global fintech firm, enters Southeast Asia with acquisition of Red Dot Payment

PayU, the Naspers owned fintech firm that specializes in emerging markets, is broadening its global reach into Southeast Asia after it announced a deal to buy a majority stake in Singapore-based Red Dot Payment. Naspers is best known for its payments and fintech business in markets like India, Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe, but […]