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Micron to invest US$100m in AI startups


MICRON Technology said on Wednesday it planned to invest up to US$100 million in startup companies working on artificial intelligence technologies for use in self-driving vehicles, factory automation and other growing fields.

The Idaho-based memory chip maker launched a corporate venture capital programme more than a decade ago, but its investments until now had been "very sporadic" and "very close to our core business" of making chips, Sumit Sadana, Micron's chief business officer, told Reuters.

The existing venture operation's returns have been solid, but the company believes it can ultimately sell more memory chips by expanding its involvement in artificial intelligence because the field deals with huge amounts of data that need to be stored on its products, he said at Micron's first artificial intelligence conference in San Francisco where it announced the move.

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The newly earmarked funds will be invested in both hardware and software startups working on artificial intelligence, Mr Sadana said. Micron has a particular interest in investing in self-driving car technology, augmented and virtual reality, and the technology for automating factories, he said, because the firm already has businesses in those areas. REUTERS