Japan's industry ministry launches initiative to support AI projects between startups and big firms


The industry ministry has launched an initiative to support joint artificial intelligence projects between startups and large firms.

Twenty projects have already been selected for financial assistance of up to ¥200 million. The ministry hopes that the support will lead to the creation of innovative business models that can be used worldwide.

It chose the 20 projects from about 70 applications.

The projects include collaboration between data analysis startup Grid Inc. and major plant engineering firm Chiyoda Corp.

Grid and Chiyoda plan to jointly develop a system to enhance the operating efficiency of liquefied natural gas plants using deep learning, a technology in which AI obtains a vast amount of data and improves its performance on its own.

The system is scheduled to be delivered to a state-run company in Abu Dhabi by the end of this year.

RenoSys Inc., an AI startup providing services for the distribution and restaurant industries, has joined hands with Mos Food Services Inc., parent of fast food chain Mos Burger.

The tie-up involves installing an AI system at a Mos Burger outlet in Yokohama on a trial basis. The system processes data, including on customers’ facial expressions and purchase history, to allow staff to easily recommend the best product for them.

A ministry official said it aims to help companies in various industries and areas collaborate. Commercializing AI technology is one of the pillars of the government’s growth strategy.