​SK Telecom, Hyundai to create $45m AI fund

SK Telecom and Hyundai Motor Company will create a $45 million fund to invest in future technologies.

SK Telecom, Hyundai Motor Company, Hanwha Asset Management, and Element AI will create a joint fund to invest in startups with innovative technology, the companies said.

Called the AI Alliance Fund, South Korea's largest mobile carrier and the country's biggest car maker, along with Hanwha, will put in $45 million to invest in startups working in AI, smart mobility, and fintech in Europe, Israel, and the US.

Element AI, an AI solutions provider founded by AI authority professor Yoshua Bengio of Montreal University, will be the fund's AI advisor. It will leverage the research group's expertise and global network to find promising startups.

SK Telecom said it hoped the startups will ultimately improve business for the companies involved.

Hyundai also opened its innovation hub, called Cradle, in Silicon Valley this week, which will strengthen the company's core automotive business and "expand into new and adjacent markets with the goal of enhancing transportation on and off the road", it said.

The car maker is also collaborating with Cisco to launch connected cars and working with Kakao to put the latter's AI platform Kakao I into its cars for speech recognition services.

SK Telecom, which launched its own AI speaker last year, is trialing 5G tech in connected cars.

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