Toyota to set up artificial intelligence research unit in U.S

Nov 10, 2015 Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corp recently announced that the corporation is in the process of setting up a research & development company with a focus on artificial intelligence technologies.

The new firm, Toyota Research Institute, will be led by Toyota’s executive technical advisor, Gill Pratt. The project, which is expected to materialize in 5 years, will have a second facility near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

The $1 billion investment underscores Toyota’s ambition to lead the automobile industry and its increased interest in new industries.

Speaking during the announcement, Akio Toyoda said:

“Artificial Intelligence has a significant potential to further improve all of society… but at Toyota, we don’t pursue innovation simply because we can; we pursue it because we should. It will be possible to create a new industry by combining AI and big data,”

Japan’s regulation on automobile industries will allow the testing of self-driving cars on public roads from 2017. This is expected to spark innovation and capital expenditure in Japan’s auto sector.

When questioned on Toyota’s ability to compete with other companies including Google and Apple in the self-driving car field, Gill Pratt said:

“The problem of adding safety and accessibility to cars and also to go beyond in robotics and other fields is extremely difficult. And the truth is that we’re only at the beginning of this race.”

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