Queensland-based motoring club and mutual organisation RACQ has bought a 30 percent stake in Brisbane artificial intelligence company Blackbook.ai for an undisclosed fee.
Specialising in services including robotic process automation, digital automation, and chatbots, the company is the automation and AI division of Blackbook Professional Services.
Greg Booker, chief information officer of RACQ, said the investment is part of the organisation’s strategy to support and advance innovation in the state.
“Our partnership with Blackbook.ai is just one way we’re ensuring RACQ is at the forefront of the emerging artificial intelligence and robotics space,” he said.
“We’re excited and confident this collaboration will successfully add value to the Australian AI and robotics services market, and ultimately it’ll benefit our members, and all Queenslanders.”
Thuy Lam, cofounder of Blackbook.ai, said the team is looking forward to collaborating with RACQ.
“We created a business with the purpose of allowing Australians, and specifically Queenslanders, the pathway to work in emerging technologies without having to go overseas,” he said.
“It’s an exciting time for the AI and automation space and our partnership with RACQ reflects a shared vision of investing back into the local community to help establish technology as a growth driver in Australia’s economy.”
The funding comes just a few months after RACQ announced a new strategic direction in August, with a focus on technologies including Internet of Things, connected devices, AI, and autonomous vehicles.
“We’re focussed on building a culture that can help us to embed innovative thinking into the fabric of our organisation, where innovation is not only accepted but it’s encouraged across all levels,” Booker said.
RACQ is the latest motoring organisation to look to boost its focus on innovation.
The NRMA ran two cohorts of its accelerator program Jumpstart in conjunction with Slingshot, working with a diverse range of companies operating in sectors including gaming, senior care, and peer to peer caravan rentals.
Western Australia’s RAC, meanwhile, has also run several iterations of its Seedspark accelerator program. It also began trialling a driverless shuttle in Perth last year, and recently received federal government funding to run further trials in conjunction with the City of South Perth.
RAC executive general manager Pat Walker said of last year’s trial, “By giving Western Australians the chance to see the technology, to eventually use it and experience it, we are learning more about the technology and working towards WA being ready for driverless vehicles.
“Increasing levels of automation in vehicles are an inevitable part of the future, and the notion of them being on our roads is not a question of if, but when.”
Image source: supplied.