Toyota creates a new $2.8B company for self-driving research

By : |March 2, 2018 0

Toyota is creating a new company to speed up its self-driving tech development. The automaker has teamed up with fellow Japanese entities Aisin Seiki and Denso Corporation to form the Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development or TRI-AD and together, they plan to invest $2.8 billion into it in the coming years and hire around 1,000 employees in order to develop software systems that can power fully self-driving vehicles.

The new company will elevate Toyota Research Institute (TRI) CTO James Kuffner to TRI-AD CEO, with TRI CEO Gil Pratt acting as Chairman of the Board for the new entity. Its focus will be specifically on advanced development of automated driving technology, whereas TRI’s mandate is more broad, and includes material science work towards advanced battery tech as well as robotics work, in addition to self-driving research.

“Building production-quality software is a critical success factor for Toyota’s automated driving program. This company’s mission is to accelerate software development in a more effective and disruptive way, by augmenting the Toyota Group’s capability through the hiring of world-class software engineers. We will recruit globally, and I am thrilled to lead this effort,” James Kuffner, the new company’s CEO, said in a statement.

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TRI-AD will be based in Tokyo, and its aim is to create a “fully-integrated, production-quality software for automated driving,” according to Toyota. It will then aim to “link” that software with what TRI has been developing, with the apparent goal of creating a completely self-driving vehicle that has been wholly created in-house.

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