Society is changing at unprecedented speeds, as exemplified by carbon neutrality initiatives and the advance of digital transformation, and there are similarly unprecedented expectations for innovative technologies. The fusion of technologies across industry boundaries is becoming increasingly important, as is already happening in the digital domain.
For these reasons, there is a growing need to create vast, virtuous cycles by nurturing the seeds of outstanding technologies in society, linking them to economic value, and recycling them into new technologies that will inspire further innovations.
Aware of such a need, Advanced Technology Acceleration Corporation (ATAC) and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) launched a new joint initiative in May 2021, entitled Innovative Technology Acceleration Platform (ITAP), with the goal of contributing to the research, development, and social implementation of outstanding technologies in Japan.
ATAC is a company that takes a hands-on approach in supporting the commercialization of advanced technologies, such as incubating startups and engaging in industry-academia collaborations through its extensive networks with universities and research organizations and knowledge of technology incubation. Toyota is engaged in cutting-edge technological research in the field of mobility and beyond, and boasts expertise and networks cultivated through TPS and other manufacturing processes.
ITAP fuses the knowledge and networks of the two companies with the goal of providing extraordinarily dynamic and agile support for the exploration, social implementation, and commercialization of innovative technologies. The Platform will provide support to universities, research organizations, and tech startups in wide-ranging fields, including carbon neutrality, materials, robots, human augmentation*1, energy, semiconductors, AI, and digital.
*1 Human augmentation refers to the technological alteration of the human body to enhance physical or mental capabilities.
*2 One of the investors that can consider participation in fundraising of startups under ITAP activities.
ATAC and Toyota have signed a basic agreement to collaborate in technology incubation with the University of Tokyo’s School of Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Nagoya University. Comments from the signatories of the three universities are given below:
Takao Someya, Dean of the Graduate School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo
The Faculty of Engineering and the Graduate School of Engineering are actively collaborating with various industries to contribute both to the resolution of social issues and the development of highly skilled engineers capable of resolving them. I have great expectations for ITAP, a joint initiative of ATAC and Toyota; by working together with ITAP, I hope to further accelerate the use of engineering knowledge in creating value.
Kazuya Masu, President of Tokyo Institute of Technology
For industry and academia to conduct incubation activities that leverage their respective knowledge and expertise, it is important that both sides amass experience working together across a number of actual cases. ATAC has the know-how for commercializing advanced technologies, while Toyota is a driving force for commercialization in wide-ranging fields; I have great hopes that, through ITAP, they will actively promote these incubation activities.
Akihiro Sasoh, Director of Academic Research & Industry-Academia-Government Collaboration, Nagoya University
It is my understanding that the role of academia in supporting startups is to nurture ventures leveraging entrepreneurship education and research seeds. ITAP provides various supports for advanced technological research and social implementation from seed stage. I have very high expectations of ITAP’s activities as a new form of collaboration between industry and academia.
ATAC is a hands-on incubation company for advanced technologies. Going forward, it intends to identify the potential of various technologies, fully utilize the industry networks of the IGPI Group, and carry out the research & development, social implementation, and commercialization of such technologies.
Toyota’s Mission is “Producing Happiness for All.” It seeks to achieve its mission by promoting research into advanced technologies with an increasingly diverse range of partners, including universities and research organizations, in the field of mobility and beyond.