Toyota will be investing $50 million in a collaborative car-tech research effort with Standford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Toyota has recently hired expert in robotics Gill Pratt to supervise the research that aims to speed up the advancements of artificial intelligence, which may soon make possible for self-driving cars to navigate the streets on their own.
The collaboration announced Friday by Toyota will last for five years at research centers situated in Silicon Valley and near Cambridge, Massachusetts. Toyota executives said they believe that this research will reshape the future of transportation by improving safety and reducing congestion.
Unlike the main competitors at Google, the Japanese car manufacturer believes the day when self-driving cars will be navigating on the streets will not arrive within the next decade. Because of that, the company will be focusing its efforts on developing an intelligent assistant that will automatically recognize when to take over the steering wheel when a driver is distracted or makes a mistake. Toyota is also thinking of a way to detect the driver’s bad mood and play a favorite song in order to cheer him up.
Other major tech companies already attempted to create robot cars that promise to be better drivers than people. Google and Uber have made the biggest advancements in the field until now. The first has been working with self-driving cars for the past five years and its goal is to make the cars capable of driving on their own by 2020.
Toyota has made similar car-tech research for the past 20 years, but when they started back in the 1990s, it was known as driving support, said a Toyota executive.
The MIT research team that partnered up with Toyota will be working on inventing new ways for cars to better understand their surrounding and make decisions on themselves to avoid unforeseen accidents. The main goal of Toyota is to make a car that will basically never be involved in a collision.
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