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FANUC and Preferred Networks announce capital alliance


Tokyo, Japan – FANUC CORPORATION (President: Yoshiharu Inaba; hereinafter, FANUC) and Preferred Networks, Inc. (President and CEO: Toru Nishikawa, hereinafter, PFN) announced today that the two companies have reached an agreement on a capital alliance to collaborate on the technical development of advanced intelligence for industrial machines and robots through application of machine learning and deep learning.

1.Overview of investment by FANUC

Amount of finance: 900 million JPY

Acquired stock: 6.0% of the total number of issued stock of PFN

Method of investment: FANUC underwrites the allocation of new stock of PFN

Date of investment: By the end of September 2015 (Expected)

2.Background of strategic and capital alliance
Intelligent IoT machines will drive the manufacturing industry in its evolution towards Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet. However, as machines increase in both intelligence and number, the volume of data being generated also increases, making the problem of how best to utilize this big data more and more important. Advanced automation of industrial machines and robots will be the key to increasing production and efficiency in the future, but it will also generate data that require new methods of analysis. FANUC and PFN have begun joint projects using machine learning and deep learning to analyze such data at the edge of the network—in the machines themselves—in real-time. Today, the two companies announce a capital alliance to accelerate this collaboration.

3.Future direction of collaboration through capital alliance
Until now, deep learning and machine learning have been used primarily for Internet-based applications and services or for retrospective analysis. However, the powers of deep learning and machine learning have not yet been exploited in applications for automated manufacturing processes in the physical world. Through this collaboration, FANUC and PFN aim to integrate PFN’s cutting-edge deep learning and machine learning technologies with FANUC’s industry-leading industrial machines. The focus of the collaboration will be on giving FANUC machines the ability to learn autonomously. For example, FANUC machines will be able to autonomously learn

-complex and non-repetitive behaviors
-strategies and methods for cooperation with other machines
-methods of predicting and repairing malfunctions.

The collaboration will advance the state-of-the-art in the automation of manufacturing processes, including those in Industry 4.0. The two companies plan to work together to innovate throughout the entire range of FANUC products.

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