Google's new startup program focuses on bringing AI to public infrastructure

Google's newest startup program, announced on Wednesday, aims to bring AI technology to the public sector. The newly launched "Google for Startups AI Academy: American Infrastructure" will offer participants hands-on training from AI experts and other support for companies solving problems in areas like agriculture, energy, education, public safety, healthcare, telecommunications, transportation, urban development, and more.

Over the course of 12 weeks, startups in the equity-free program will be guided by an AI curriculum developed by Google's People + AI Research (PAIR) team and will participate in advanced sales and go-to-market workshops. They'll also be able to access industry connections and, of course, tap into Google's AI tools as they build.

The startups that graduate from the program will then be a part of the alumni community, which already includes other infrastructure-focused companies like JustAir, which uses AI to monitor air pollution; Cambio, which focuses on decarbonizing commercial real estate; and Sensagrate, which works to reduce traffic fatalities.

Google says that it will select startups using AI to boost productivity and solve problems across a range of industries, including not only the above, but also disaster prevention, environment and sustainability, smart manufacturing and logistics, public safety, water management, workforce development, and economic opportunity.

The deadline for applications is June 17.

While much focus is on the AI companies building the models, tools, and interfaces for working with AI, a focus on real-world applications of the technology could impact communities at the local, state, and national levels, Google believes. The company is encouraging startups to apply even if they're not directly focused on these industries but are working in any way to create more efficient and equitable public services.