Robotics & Automation News

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Hitachi, Fanuc and Preferred Networks form AI partnership

Manufacturing giant Hitachi and industrial automation company Fanuc have formed a partnership with Preferred Networks, a developer of software for industrial internet of things networks.

The companies plan to establish a joint venture develop artificial intelligence and edge computing systems for industrial operations, according to a report on Nikkei.

Edge computing refers to devices and systems which can do a lot of the data processing locally, without needing to send data to the cloud. 

Preferred Networks has already worked with Fanuc before and would have been behind the automation company’s so-called “Field” system, which means Fanuc Intelligent Edge and Drive System.

One of the key innovations the companies are trying to introduce to the IIoT networks is deep learning, which is a branch of AI.

Deep learning uses larger amounts of data and analyses them at many levels, although that is a somewhat simplistic explanation. It’s similar to machine learning, but is meant to provide deeper insights into the data.

Preferred Networks is an as-yet unlisted startup company with a valuation of approximately $2 billion.

Its investors include auto massive Toyota, which is looking to use Preferred Networks’ technology in autonomous cars it is developing.

NTT, Japan’s national telecommunications carrier, is another investor, and one of its interests is related to its partnership with Toyota.