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Denso invests in AI startup ThinCI

Denso Corp. said Sept. 5 that it led a $65 million series C funding round in ThinCI Inc., an artificial intelligence hardware startup that develops computing platforms.

The Japanese auto-parts maker's investment will speed up the startup's development of semiconductor devices that are used in automated driving. Denso also led ThinCI's previous funding round in 2016.

"[ThinCI's] technology provides the computing power to make autonomous driving and advanced electric vehicles the industry norm," Tony Cannestra, director of corporate ventures at Denso, said in a statement.

Denso subsidiary NSITEXE Inc. is currently developing a data flow processor, or DFP, that can perform multiple complex calculations at once while consuming less power and generating less heat. According to NSITEXE president and CEO Yukihide Niimi, ThinCI's deep learning and vision processing capabilities will help DFPs to work well.

Other investors that participated in the funding round include Toyota Motor Corp.-backed Mirai Creation Fund, GGV Capital and Daimler AG.