'Robots for everyone' in 5 years, says Japan's most valuable tech startup

A robot that picks up your dirty underpants. Sign me up.

Mark Serrels Editorial Director
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Mark Serrels
Preferred Networks 

When you think robots -- the kind that might live in your house and cater to your every need -- you tend to think far-flung future. You certainly don't think five years from now.

That is unless you happen to be Toru Nishikawa, the founder of Preferred Networks, the most valuable technology startup in Japan, according to Bloomberg in May.

"We want to bring such robots to the market within five years and see them being used," Nishikawa told Nikkei. "Ten years is too long to wait."

In October this year at Ceatec, a Japanese consumer electrics show, Preferred Networks showed off an autonomous robot capable of tidying up a room, picking up clothes, toys and slippers.

With the correct funding, Preferred Networks believes it can get robots like these in the hands of consumers in five years.

Preferred Networks is currently valued at an estimated $2 billion, according to Bloomberg, and has a robust reputation as an AI focused company. It's currently in partnership with Panasonic and Toyota, working with its autonomous car technology.

It is this groundwork in AI that has Preferred Networks so bullish.
"We are not going to be just providing AI technology," Nishikawa told Nikkei. "We will provide solutions by combining AI and robotics. That's where we want to go."

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