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“Our call for innovation welcomes startup solutions that incorporate technologies in AI, data, cloud, autonomy, mobility, or robotics to solve any relevant problem for smart cities. Those problems might be in food supply, construction, water management, transportation or other areas that may not yet be on the public radar — after all, touchless technology is more important today than it was a year ago.”

Jim Adler

“We see cities as a platform for innovation, and we’re searching for startups building real-world, scalable solutions to improve the quality of life in urban communities, now and in the future.”—Adler (Images: Toyota)

That’s Jim Adler, founding managing director of Toyota AI Ventures.

He’s talking about the global call for innovation—one that would provide accepted entrepreneurs with from between $500,000 and $2-million in funding—that had first been announced this past January at CES.

When he made the original announcement Adler said, “Over half of the world’s population lives in urban areas today, and that trend is expected to increase in the coming decades. As cities become more populated and dense, technology has a key role to play in addressing challenges like congestion, housing shortages and pollution. We see cities as a platform for innovation, and we’re searching for startups building real-world, scalable solutions to improve the quality of life in urban communities, now and in the future.”

Woven City

As you may recall, at the 2020 CES Toyota revealed the Woven City, its plan to create a living laboratory where people would live, work and perform their daily activities. And one where there wouldn’t be Camrys and Highlanders rolling around, as there would be micromobility devices, underscoring that Toyota has a vision that goes well beyond what millions of people currently have in their garages.

Helping to realize the physical Woven City is Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD), which is working with Toyota AI Ventures on the call for innovation. The Toyota Research Institute is a participant, as well.

Times Change

When Adler made the original announcement on January 7, the deadline for submissions had been April 30.

A whole lot has happened in the world between January 7 and now.

So the deadline has been extended to June 30, 2020.

What they are hoping to fund, as we perhaps all realize right now, will likely have bigger benefits to humanity than Adler and his colleagues had first imagined.

You can learn more and apply for the program here.

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