Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has unveiled a $1.4 billion plan to boost research into artificial intelligence, robotics and big data to address society's future mobility challenges.
TMC will make the initial investment over the next five years to establish, staff and conduct operations at the Toyota Research Institute Inc. (TRI) – a new company that will help bridge the gap between fundamental research and product development.
Its headquarters will be in the Silicon Valley near Stanford University with a second facility near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The new company will begin operations in January next year.
Toyota believes artificial intelligence has significant potential to support future industrial technologies and the creation of an entirely new industry.
The latest investment is in addition to the $70 million) investment over the next five years with MIT and Stanford to establish joint fundamental artificial intelligence research centres at each university.
TRI's primary mission is to accelerate research and development in a range of fields to help resolve society's future challenges by using artificial intelligence and big data, thereby contributing to a sustainable future where everyone can experience a safer, freer and unconstrained life.
Directed by Dr Gill Pratt, Toyota's executive technical adviser and chief executive officer of the new enterprise, TRI will hire leading researchers and engineers to support its wide range of activities.
Dr Pratt said TRI's initial goals are to:
· Improve safety by continuously decreasing the likelihood that a car will be involved in an accident
· Make driving accessible to everyone, regardless of ability, and
· Apply Toyota technology used for outdoor mobility to indoor environments, particularly for the support of seniors.
“We also plan to apply our work more broadly, for example, to improve production
efficiency and accelerate scientific discovery in materials," Dr Pratt said.