Tata Bolt

Tata Group has entered into collaborations with academic institutions like Harvard University, Yale University, IIT-Madras and the Royal Society UK to fund research, reports the Mint. The Group will invest over $25 million over five years in these institutions, depending on the tenure of individual contract.

According to an Economic Times report, the company has signed a 6 year contract with Harvard for research in soft-robotics, advanced materials, sensor technologies and deep learning. With Yale, the 5 year contract provides for research in network sciences, consumer behaviour and other research. With IIT-M, the company is working on advanced materials. Students at these institutions will also have to option to take sabbaticals and work in Tata companies.

RTN and UoC partnership: Note that RNT Associates, the privately held investment firm of Ratan Tata, had partnered with the chief investment officer’s office of the University of California, to jointly fund startups and enterprises in India over the next 10 years. The partnership would look to invest in various sectors, including healthcare, alternate energy etc. However, it did not disclose how much the fund will invest in each startup, or the startup selection procedure.

Other developments in automation:

– Earlier this month, Uber said it would launch its self-driving cars as soon as this month in Pittsburgh, US. The company had initially opened a robotics research lab in Pittsburgh in February 2015 to “kickstart autonomous taxi fleet development.”

– In May, Apple pumped in $1 billion in Didi Chuxing (formerly known as Didi Kuaidi) to understand the Chinese market and make future collaborations. Apple would merge some products into Didi, while also partnering with other companies for self driving cars.

– In March, Mozilla said it would focus on connected devices, or the Internet of Things. The company would also initiate a volunteer-driven innovation fund as an experiment for the next three months, to fund small projects that experiment and prototype ideas in the connected devices space.

– In January, General Motors invested $500 million in Lyft, Uber’s US competitor, for developing autonomous vehicle networks. Tesla, Ford and other carmakers are also working on or already have working models of autonomous vehicles.

– In May last year, Google said it was developing a new Android-based operating system for called Brillo which will focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) and low-end power devices such as smart light bulbs and security cameras.