Toyota Motor Corp. has announced that it will invest $1 billion into creating a new company – Toyota Research Institute – set to focus on research into artificial intelligence and robotics.
It was only two months ago that Toyota said it would invest $50 million into a partnership with MIT and Stanford universities, collaboration that would have Dr. Gill Pratt as the leader, Pratt being the former director of DARPA Robotics Challenge and current executive technical adviser for Toyota. According to a release, Toyota will now build two new research facilities close to Stanford and MIT’s campuses with Pratt as CEO overviewing the new company as he plans to create a group of around 200 employees – “leading researchers and engineers”.
The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) will receive an initial investment of $1 billion that will be spent over a period of five years. TRI will be based in Palo Alto and the second research center will be located in Cambrige, Mass, near MIT. This branch will focus on artificial intelligence that is able to build next-generation robotics that could solve mobility issues.
Toyota has stated that the future of mobility is more important for the Japanese carmaker that autonomous cars. The automaker explained that future transportation solutions will have to be designed to cater for personal mobility for seniors to help them drive safely and independently.
Pratt said that the project plans in the first place to improve safety by decreasing the probabibility of a car to get involved in an accident, to make driving more accessible to people and use Toyota technology for outdoor mobility to indoor environments, especially for the elderly.