Japanese legacy automaker Mazda solidified its partnership with Cambridge-based tech firm Secondmind as it seeks to employ artificial intelligence (AI) in accelerated electric vehicle development, Drive reports.
Mazda reportedly invested in AI-centric tech firm Secondmind under a $US16 million ($AU24.3 million) funding round. However, neither Mazda nor Secondmind disclosed the specific amount of the Japanese automaker’s investment.
According to the report, Mazda initially partnered with Secondmind in late 2020 for its next-gen traditional vehicles’ ECUs (Electronic Control Units). With the extended partnership agreement, Mazda will gain access to Secondmind’s AI tech to reduce the time needed for electric vehicle development.
“The automotive industry needs to further accelerate the speed and efficiency of development due to the diversification of market needs and the increasing sophistication and complexity of technology.”
Naohito Saga, Mazda’s Research and Development Head
Secondmind is a Cambridge-based tech firm launched in 2016. Since then, the company has focused on helping “automotive engineers design better cars faster and achieve greater sustainability through machine learning,” as per its LinkedIn profile.
Secondmind is basically the optimization engine for software-defined cars, offering automotive engineers the necessary tools to revolutionize and accelerate the design and development of clean energy vehicles.
Secondmind claims that its technologies can cut development time for new electric vehicles from years to just months. It also indicated that it can lower design errors, enabling automakers to reduce the number of prototypes for a model.
Its major investors include Amadeus Capital, Atlantic Bridge, and Cambridge Innovation Capital, among others.
Mazda’s electrification push
Mazda announced its self-set target of having electric vehicles account for 25% to 40% of its global sales by 2030.
That said, it is indeed crucial for Mazda to continuously launch initiatives to boost its electrification efforts. Apart from partnering with Secondmind, Mazda pledged to launch three EVs by 2025.