Toyota Investing $50 Million To Develop Smarter Cars
Toyota has just announced it will be investing in the development of artificial intelligence by financially backing research at Stanford and MIT. The $50 million investment will take place over a five-year period with the aim of advancing AI to make everyday life simpler and to advance autonomous vehicles.
“We’re here today to mark the beginning of an unprecedented commitment,” said Kiyotaka Ise, Toyota’s Senior Managing Officer and Chief Officer of R&D. “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."
Most notable in the automotive sector, this research and development has the goal of reducing traffic accidents by furthering vehicle-based technologies that mitigate and prevent crashes. Toyota’s vision is to eventually go beyond driver aides like adaptive cruise control or pre-collision braking to a more complete autonomous system.
Beyond the automotive segment, Toyota is also investing in the creation of robotics to help in everyday life. One key area of assistance Toyota points out is elderly care. Toyota has already created robots to help with physical therapy, so elder care is a logical next step. That’s no surprise considering the company’s long history of building robotics, a history that dates back to the 1970s.
The $50 million will be split evenly between Stanford University and MIT’s joint research centers located at both campuses.
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Why It Matters
Developing new AI and robotics technologies for helping advance autonomous driving and end-of-life care are two worthwhile causes. Toyota’s goal of creating a car that is impossible to crash may seem far-fetched, but the possibility is there if the technology can be created to support it.
The main takeaway car folks and gearheads can leave with is this: Toyota promised to not remove the fun out of driving. It will certainly be interesting to see how they manage to pull that off. After all, how much fun would an autonomous Miata be?