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Friday, July 27, 2018

Embedded AI processor startup targets Japan and South Korea

By Nick Flaherty

Hailo, an Israeli developer of a proprietary chip technology for deep learning on edge devices, is targetting technology and business partners in Japan and South Korea.

The company, established in early 2017, emerged out of stealth mode in June and announced that it had completed $12.5 million Series A funding round that will help the startup further develop its deep learning microprocessor, which will deliver datacentre processing capacity to edge devices. This latest funding round brings the total raised to date by the Tel Aviv-based company to $16 million.

Initial samples of the deep learning processor are expected early in 2019 and will be able to run embedded AI applications on edge devices that are installed in autonomous vehicles, drones, and smart home appliances such as personal assistants, smart cameras and smart TVs, alongside IoT, AR and VR platforms, wearables and security products.

This is one reason why the company is targeting the automotive industry for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving applications that require sensing and processing of the environment. According to IC Insights, ICs used in automobiles and other vehicles are expected to generate global sales of $42.9 billion in 2021, compared to $22.9 billion in 2016. Existing general-purpose processor infrastructure cannot run compute-intensive deep learning algorithms necessary for these applications.

According to a market research by IDC, total spending on cognitive and AI systems in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan), has totaled $458.0 million in 2017 alone, reflecting an increase of 53.3% over 2016

South Korea ICT Ministry has recently published a national plan that aims to invest around 2.2 trillion won (around $2 billion) by 2022 in order to boost the country's AI R&D capabilities and transform the country into one of the world's top four AI powerhouses. As part of the strategy, South Korea is planning to establish six new AI research institutes.

In Japan, the Japanese government published its artificial intelligence technology strategy that details top areas for R&D, focusing on the themes of productivity, medical care and health, and mobility. The strategy also encourages collaboration between industry, government, and academia to advance AI research.

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