Issei Yamamoto became one of Japan’s best-known developers of artificial intelligence when his algorithm defeated the top-ranked player of shogi.

Now, he’s pursuing an even more challenging task of human emulation: achieving a fully self-driving automotive system.

The 38-year-old is returning to the public eye with the backing of some of Japan’s biggest businesses, including a unit of Mizuho Financial Group and NTT Docomo Ventures, which have invested in his startup, Turing.