Toyota to spend $1B on artificial intelligence research

Toyota to spend $1B on artificial intelligence research

Toyota has promised to spend $1 billion on a new company, Toyota Research Institute, that will focus on artificial intelligence and robotics.

The research-and-development initiative will be headquartered in Silicon Valley near Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. A second facility will eventually be opened near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The investment represents a significant expansion from the $50 million pledged a few months ago to support development of autonomous car tech with help from Stanford and MIT.

“Our initial goals are to: 1) improve safety by continuously decreasing the likelihood that a car will be involved in an accident; 2) make driving accessible to everyone, regardless of ability; and 3) apply Toyota technology used for outdoor mobility to indoor environments, particularly for the support of seniors,” said Toyota executive technical advisor Dr. Gill Pratt, chosen to serve as chief executive of the new project.

The company recently unveiled a prototype Lexus GS outfitted with autonomous technology. Engineers will continue to refine the systems in the coming years, initially bringing to market a car that can drive itself on highways. Like other automakers, Toyota has set 2020 as a launch target for the first semi-autonomous vehicles.

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