LG expands AI innovation ecosystem

Appliance giant LG has established a new artificial intelligence (AI) research presence in Canada in collaboration with academics and start-ups.

It has also signed a five-year “multimillion-dollar” agreement with the University of Toronto to develop future-defining technologies and build on its open platform, open partnership, open connectivity philosophy.

The LG Electronics AI research lab in Canada is the latest in the firm’s R&D portfolio, with labs already in place in California, South Korea, India and Russia.

Underlining its commitment to the development of AI and connectivity, the South Korean firm, which launched its smart-home platform SmartThinQ last year, said it plans to start investing in start-ups in North America.

“AI will ultimately touch everybody’s lives, transforming the way we live, work and play,” said LG Electronics president and chief technology officer Dr I P Park.

“Early implementations of AI in connected devices today are setting the stage for tomorrow’s smart cities, smart homes, smart businesses and smart devices, all with capabilities that no one has even dreamed of yet.”

He added: “AI solutions based on deep learning will revolutionise how we interact with the world around us, in new seamless ways that use contextual data from things like biometrics, emotions, gestures and of course voice.”

LG’s SmartThinQ learns about a consumer’s usage patterns and helps to predict their needs. The more a consumer uses their LG appliances, the smarter they become, says LG.

The appliances use adaptive technology to interpret usage habits and data. They can then alert owners when they need to order filter refills for the refrigerator or air purifier, as well as being able to troubleshoot lint build-up in a tumble-dryer.

What’s more, wi-fi or Bluetooth-enabled AI allow LG appliances to ‘talk’ to each other and can process selected voice commands through its own technology as well as third-party AI platforms, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

University of Toronto president Meric Gertler said: “The University of Toronto looks forward to partnering with an innovative global company like LG as our researchers continue to advance the boundaries of artificial intelligence.

“The presence of such leading, multinational firms in our innovation ecosystem strengthens opportunities for our faculty, students and start-up companies across a whole range of disciplines.”

LG chief executive Jo Seong-jin and Dr Park will outline their vision for LG’s ThinQ strategy for AI in a keynote speech at this year’s IFA event, which takes place later this month in Berlin.