Qualcomm pledges $100m to AI startups

(Image credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek / Shutterstock)

Qualcomm has detailed a new $100m investment fund for startups working in the field of mobile Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The first investment is in AnyVision, which specialises in face, body and object recognition for on-device AI capabilities. By analysing data on the device, the spread of data is minimised and therefore privacy is protected.

Qualcomm Ventures will make future investments in on-device AI with an emphasis on those developing technologies for areas like autonomous cars, robotics and Machine Learning (ML). These will build on Qualcomm’s own research efforts in the field of AI.

Qualcomm AI

“This investment builds on our long history of successful AI investments, including Cruise Automation, Brain Corp., Clarifai, Prospera, SenseTime and Retail Next,” said Quinn Li, head of Qualcomm Ventures. “Through the AI Fund, we’ll continue to seek out startups, with a focus on autonomous cars, robotics, computer vision and IoT, who are developing new AI applications, advanced machine learning technologies and AI/ML platforms across different verticals.”

On-device AI is becoming a unique differentiator for major handsets, with features such as voice-activated assistants, intelligence-based personalisation and smart cameras becoming increasingly common.

5G networks will also accelerate adoption through faster speeds , greater capacity and ultra-low latency enabled by changes to operator’s core networks. Whereas most functions are currently deployed in the core, virtualisation and software defined software will allow these to be moved around the network, closer to the customer.

Qualcomm’s role in this shift is through the creation of AI-enabled components and 5G modems used by the world’s leading smartphone and device manufacutrers.

 “At Qualcomm, we invent breakthrough technologies that transform how the world connects, computes, and communicates,” added Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm CEO. “For over a decade, Qualcomm has been investing in the future of machine learning. As a pioneer of on-device AI, we strongly believe intelligence is moving from the cloud to the edge. Qualcomm’s AI strategy couples leading 5G connectivity with our R&D, fueling AI to transform industries, business models and experiences.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.