Toyota plans U.S. artificial intelligence research with focus on self-driving cars

“Toyota Motor Corp said on Friday it will set up a research and development company with a focus on artificial intelligence in Silicon Valley, as competition to develop self-driving cars intensifies,” Hideyuki Sano reports for Reuters.

“The world’s top-selling automaker plans to invest $1 billion in R&D over the next five years in a departure from its cautious stance on automated drive,” Sano reports.

“Technology firms such as Alphabet, formerly known as Google, and Apple are muscling into the auto industry, hiring car experts to bring self-drive cars to reality, hopefully within five years,” Sano reports. “The new firm, which plans to hire about 200 staff, aims to accelerate research and development in artificial intelligence and big data, the carmaker said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The race is on!

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  1. To my mind, they’re approaching it in the right way, but have started far too late. If they’re just starting to set up an R&D establishment in Silicon Valley and planning to recruit staff, they are going to be a number of years behind companies like Apple, Google and Tesla.

    They might be able to gain a little advantage by poaching experienced people from elsewhere, but my guess is that those people are already being well rewarded, both in terms of salary and job satisfaction and might not be easily persuaded to move to Toyota.

    1. If there’s anything the Japanese are great at is taking an idea that’s out there and refining and perfecting it by tirelessly trying new ideas.

      Kind of like Apple. They don’t need to be first. They just need to be the best.

      When other companies have gone on to the newer and shinier things, Japanese companies are taking an idea and perfecting it. I have no doubt that they will do well. There is a LOT of homegrown talent in Japan that they can tap into.

    1. If you consider Toyota’s investment already made in the field of personal robotic vehicles (not to mention vehicles in general) over the years the total amount invested in R&D vs Apple may not be much different.

    1. Though I would have to agree that compared to Toyota, Honda has a head start in autonomous 2 legged robots. However in the field of vehicular robots Toyota has been in the game for a long time. I would even go as far to say that Toyota is only behind Google to be in the position to first release a fully automated street legal personal vehicle.

  2. Good for Toyota.. They may actually have a better headstart in personal vehicles that they could use AI tech in than you think.. I believe I saw a prototype a couple years back for a single person vehicle by Toyota that converted/tranformed between wheelchair mode to street legal vehicle car mode.

    1. Here’s another article on the topic.. Seems the focus will primarily be towards providing vehicle options for elderly and disabled rather than a multi-person autonomous vehicle.

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