Toyota AI Ventures, the Japanese automaker’s early-stage venture capital fund, has invested in YPC Technologies, a robotic kitchen startup based in Montreal.
The total amount of the investment wasn’t disclosed by either company but it’s part of a $1.8-million (all figures in USD) seed round that YPC announced Tuesday.
The venture capital firm said at CES in January that it would award funding ranging from $500,000 to $2 million to early-stage startups in what it's calling a worldwide "call for innovation” focused on smart, connected cities.
The global call for innovation focused on attracting and investing in early-stage startups that are building solutions for smart and connected cities in the areas of artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomy, mobility, cloud or data.
YPC Technologies said it is developing “a new era of kitchen automation” by building a robot that can prepare thousands of recipes, using fresh ingredients. Rather than replacing staff, the system collaborates with humans to increase their output efficiency by taking care of highly repetitive cooking tasks.
YPC Technologies said it will use the new financing to expand its engineering team and launch its beta version with an industry-leading multinational.
“We believe that in the future, cities around the world will have hyperlocal, automated kitchens to produce fresh, restaurant-quality food next to the consumer, and we’re thrilled to have the support of Toyota AI Ventures as we continue to grow our company,” YPC Technologies CEO Gunnar Grass said in a statement.
Toyota said it will build a 175-acre hydrogen-powered test city beginning next year at the base of Japan's Mount Fuji to study the interactions of a number of cutting-edge technologies, including autonomous transportation, robotics and artificial intelligence.
The huge project is called Woven City. Toyota Research Institute - Advanced Development, Inc. (TRI-AD) will oversee the project
“Urban communities face complex challenges to long-term sustainability,” James Kuffner, CEO of TRI-AD and chief digital officer of Toyota Motor Corp., said in a statement. “There is an immense need for more inventors, thinkers, and creators to help the cities of our world better support happy, healthy human life.”
With files from Automotive News.