Toyota has made clear its commitment to developing cutting-edge technology by investing £657 million – or one billion dollars – in a Silicon Valley research company. The investment will be focused on developing artificial intelligence and robots that should spawn new technology and systems for its passenger cars.
Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation President, has noted that the company would be based near Stanford University, California from January and will initially employ 200 people. A second centre near Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge will also open.
£33 million has already been invested by Toyota in artificial intelligence, but its focus will go beyond this to develop technology that helps people during everyday life and not be limited to its cars.
The company has already produced robots that can travel around and pick up objects for people. In its vehicle production facilities, sophisticated robotic arms and computers play a vital role in the manufacturing process.
Robotics expert, Gill Pratt will lead the new division, known as the Toyota Research Institute. Autonomous driving will be just one area of focus for Pratt and his team as it seeks to build on the innovative systems evident in current-generation Toyota cars.
Visit our new Toyota pages for an introduction to each model in the range and the cutting-edge technology they arrive with.