Toyota Starting AI Research Company in Palo Alto
Toyota wants to be at the forefront of research to support self-driving cars, starting with a $1B investment to launch a research company that will have campuses in Silicon Valley and Cambridge.
The Toyota Research Institute will start operations with an anticipated 200 employees in a Palo Alto facility near Stanford University in January, Toyota Motor president Akio Toyoda announced last week. The second campus will be near MIT in Cambridge. Toyota has not yet disclosed the address for either facility, a company spokesman tells us. The company previously committed $50M for artificial intelligence research at Stanford and MIT. The Toyota Research Institute is intended to push movement from research to product development, Toyota says. Here's Toyota Research Institute head Gill Pratt.
With Google's research (Google's cars are driving around Mountain View and Austin, TX, as you read this), Silicon Valley has become the place to be for developing the necessary software. Most of the big auto companies have engineering labs in the area.
Toyota's $1B investment will be spread over five years. The company foresees artificial intelligence and robotics research going beyond cars to support other programs, such as home-care robotics.