Toyota will invest $US 50 million in the research and development of intelligent vehicle and mobility technologies with an ambitious new collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University, California.
Joint research centres will be established at each university with Toyota investing $US50 million over the next five years.
Dr. Gill Pratt, former Program Manager at DARPA (the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency) and leader of its recent Robotics Challenge, has joined Toyota to direct and accelerate these research activities and their application to intelligent vehicles and robotics.
Toyota believes the opportunities to improve every-day living through artificial intelligence supported technologies are boundless, with significant breakthrough potential for the development of life-saving intelligent vehicles and life-improving robots.
"We're here today to mark the beginning of an unprecedented commitment. We will initially focus on the acceleration of intelligent vehicle technology, with the immediate goal of helping eliminate traffic casualties and the ultimate goal of helping improve quality of life through enhanced mobility and robotics,” said Kiyotaka Ise, Toyota’s Chief Officer of its Research and Development Group.
Combined research will be targeted at improving the ability of intelligent vehicle technologies to recognize objects around the vehicle, provide elevated judgment of surrounding conditions, and safely collaborate with vehicle occupants, other vehicles, and pedestrians. The joint research will also look at applications of the same technology to human-interactive robotics and information service, said Dr. Pratt.
Both Universities already have computer science and artificial intelligence research facilities.
Beyond Toyota's longstanding work on autonomous vehicles and advanced driving support systems, the company has been developing robots for industrial use since the 1970s, and for Partner and Human Support Robot applications for the last 15 years. This collaborative effort will open up new avenues for systems and product development across a broad range of mobility applications.