Empowering People on the Production Floor with AI: Our Investment in Drishti
At Toyota AI Ventures, we envision a world where technology amplifies the human experience. That’s why I’m excited to announce our investment in Drishti Technologies. Drishti tackles the well-known operational challenges of assembly line manufacturing, with a combination of AI, data, and analytics that empowers humans on the manufacturing floor to work more efficiently with machines.
Synergy between technology and people is renewed on the manufacturing floor, as the data Drishti provides enables everyone in the factory to find opportunities to improve performance. That includes line operators, so not only does Drishti improve overall efficiency and productivity, it increases operator engagement as well.
Prasad Akella, founder and CEO, developed the idea behind Drishti when he was an entrepreneur-in-residence at SRI International. He and co-founder and CTO Krishnendu Chaudhury founded Drishti in 2015, and the company is headquartered in Mountain View, California. The team has an impressive combination of experience in robotics, mechanical engineering, computer vision, and deep learning, and the platform’s capabilities already reflect this expertise.
Most manufacturers lack meaningful data about manual assembly processes, because human actions are very difficult to measure. Approximately 72% of factory tasks are still performed manually, compounding the problem. Drishti uses computer vision and AI to create continuous streams of data and video from manual actions. It also monitors live cycle timing data, provides video annotations with time study information, and produces analytics that can be acted upon quickly by the team.
Drishti’s platform couldn’t be more timely as manufacturing adjusts to the era of COVID-19. Remote access to the factory floor — while maintaining or increasing operations data — is more important than ever. Drishti supplies the critical data stream while enabling the relocation of people who would otherwise have to remain on the floor.
In discrete manufacturing — like automobiles, electronics, medical devices, furniture — people and assembly lines are core to the process, and many have assumed that the processes can’t get any faster. Logically, there are limits to how fast humans can work, and contrary to popular misconceptions, humans aren’t going to be replaced by machines any time soon.
But in the spirit of kaizen, we are always looking for ways to improve, and Drishti’s approach does just that. Toyota is already evaluating Drishti’s technologies, and the list of discrete manufacturers that Drishti is working with continues to grow. We are happy to join in Drishti’s Series B round alongside lead investor Sozo Ventures, Alpha Intelligence Capital, Micron Technology, Inc., Presidio Ventures, HELLA Ventures, with participation from current investors Emergence Capital, Benhamou Global Ventures, and Andreessen Horowitz.
In 2019, the World Economic Forum recognized Drishti as a Technology Pioneer because of its “clear potential to transform its industry and improve society for years to come.” We’re excited about Drishti’s future, and look forward to supporting Drishti as it expands into manufacturing floors around the globe. Visit Drishti’s site to learn more, and explore job opportunities through the Toyota AI Ventures Talent network.