Ebara Corp has invested ¥100 million in Japanese AI (Artificial Intelligence) consultancy and developer Ridge-i Inc.

INCJ Ltd, the former Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, and imaging and electronics giant Ricoh Co Ltd have also invested in the AI company.

Ebara has formed a basic business alliance with Ridge-i to plan, research and develop the use of AI and IoT technologies (Internet of Things).

Ridge-i provides consulting services and develops solution products with AI and deep-learning technologies.

Using image analysis technology, which was jointly developed with Ridge-i, Ebara Environmental Plant Co Ltd has recently successfully conducted a demonstration, and started to operate an automatic crane system with waste identification AI.

The investment in and alliance with Ridge-i will accelerate Ebara’s move towards using AI and IoT technologies under its E-Plan 2019, the group’s medium-term management plan.

Ebara says it will work to leverage Ridge-i’s advanced technologies, aiming to improve production processes as well as enhance the value of the group’s products and services across all of its businesses. The focus will be on replacing human visual inspection of a product’s appearance; optimizing processes and realizing safe operation by tracking people’s and objects’ motions during production; and optimizing the operating schedule of machines based on an analysis of environmental data.