LG Group has created a new fund in the United States with the goal of investing in startup businesses across a number of tech segments such as artificial intelligence (AI), auto parts, and robots. Called LG Technology Ventures, the new fund will be responsible for a total amount of $400 million, which represents a cumulative funding from LG Electronics, chemical company LG Chem Ltd., LG Display Co., and South Korean mobile carrier LG Uplus Inc., according to the Seoul-based multinational conglomerate.
The establishment of LG Technology Ventures is understood to be part of the South Korean tech giant's efforts to bolster its investment in emerging technologies such as AI, into which the company has already been injecting huge sums of money for research and development. Among the initial products out of those initiatives is LG's introduction of a new sub-brand last December called LG ThinQ, a label which will be used to refer to all of its home appliances, consumers electronics, and services equipped with AI capabilities. LG previously said the ThinQ products will have the ability to use deep learning systems and communicate with one another themselves, with the future AI-based offerings expected to employ LG’s very own DeepThinQ technology as well as third-party solutions. LG's AI initiatives also extend to the company's mobile device offerings, courtesy of its SmartThinQ applications for Android and iOS devices.
In the robotics field, LG also previously signaled its intention to deepen its stake in this segment, having recently demonstrated the smart capabilities of CLOi, its first intelligent robot powered by LG ThinQ, at CES 2018. CLoi is designed to sit at the center of a user’s connected home and built with expressive “eyes” with various animations that change depending on context. The robot also supports voice recognition capabilities and is intended to control a wide variety of appliances in a smart home. Aside from smart robot, LG's earlier robotic systems include the LG HomBot robot vacuum, which can be scheduled to switch on the Home Guard mode at various times of the day, or triggered manually, so that the vacuum is made to watch entrance points such as doors or windows, and alert the homeowner of irregular movements throughout the house via an instant notification through the LG SmartThinQ app. More smart products like those mentioned are expected to come out in the future with LG's new tech investment arm.