March 2, Toyota issued a notice saying it will join Aisin Seiki (Toyota as its major shareholder), Denso, at the end of this month to set up Toyota Research Institute advanced research and development company (TRI-AD) in order to speed up Autopilot software development.
At the moment, the three companies have completed a memorandum of cooperation on the joint development of self-driving integrated production software and plan to jointly invest over 300 billion Japanese yen (2.838 billion U.S. dollars) to attract nearly 1,000 employees. James Kuffner, former head of automatic driving at Google and CTO at Toyota Research Institute, will lead the development of software technology as CEO of a new company, chairman of the board of directors of Toyota Research Institute CEOGillPratt.
The main objectives of Toyota Research Advanced Research and Development Company include:
- Make full use of its data processing capabilities to establish a smooth software pipeline from research to commercialization;
- Strengthen cooperation with Toyota Research Institute, combine with research efficiently and accelerate production development;
- Strengthen cooperation with Toyota Group in research and advanced research and development;
Hire top engineers worldwide and train a well-coordinated talent team for Toyota Group.
Dr James Kuffner said: “Creating massively-produced autopilot software is crucial to Toyota’s autonomous driving efforts and TRI-AD’s mission is to hire world-class software engineers to enhance Toyota’s R & D capabilities to be more efficient And disruptive ways to speed up software development. We will be recruiting talent around the world. “
Dr. Gill Pratt said he hopes to further expand Toyota’s software production capacity by expanding the Toyota production system’s basic concept of hardware production into software production.
Toyota Research Institute, Collaborative Safety Research Center, Toyota Connected Company are three major players in Toyota’s autonomous driving research. Among them, the Toyota Research Institute, established in North America in 2016, The latter’s plan is to invest $ 1 billion in five years to conduct research in the areas of artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and robotics.
According to Lei Feng (), it is understood that the research program of TRI Institute in automatic driving is mainly a driver assistance system named Guardian and a fully driverless development named Chauffeur.
In July 2017, TRI also set up Toyota AI Ventures focusing on early AI companies and investing in the automaker Nauto.
In January 2018, Toyota unveiled the Lexus LS600hl, powered by its 3.0 autopilot platform, at CES, which plans to launch autonomous vehicles in the highway scene by 2020.
Compared with Ford, GM, Tesla and other auto companies, Toyota’s pace of automatic driving is obviously much less conservative. GillPratt spoke candidly of developments in autonomous driving technology during CES 2017: “Some car makers are likely to own L4 (SAE) autonomous vehicles within 10 years, and most will be equipped with L4 or L5 (SAE Autopilot technology may take decades. “
However, a $ 2.8 billion investment sufficient to prove that the car prices in the autonomous driving technical competition, without any apparent slack.