Toyoda Gosei has invested in IMUZAK, a start-up located in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, with strengths in optical design and assessment, to accelerate its development of interior and exterior modules for autonomous driving.

The evolution of autonomous driving technology is expected to increase the need for parts equipped with sensing functions to recognise the surrounding environment, such as nearby vehicles or pedestrians and road configuration, as well as human-machine interface functions for communication between vehicles and people.

Given this trend, Toyoda Gosei is integrating sensors and other electronic components into its exterior and interior products such as front grilles, cockpits and steering wheels.

Toyoda Gosei’s investment in Imuzak will give it access to the company’s proprietary findings in the field of optics for the creation of new value as it develops exterior products, which are transparent to infra-red light using Lidar and interior products using light in equipment operation.

The investment is the first to be made by Toyoda Gosei’s newly-established Corporate Venture Capital Department, started in January 2019.

The amount of the investment is JPY50m, which will give Toyoda Gosei an equity stake of 19.1% in Imuzak.