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Toyota Spurs Automated Driving With New Research Institute

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) is set to establish in Tokyo, Japan the Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD) that will accelerate the company efforts towards automated driving. To help TRI-AD achieve its goals, Toyota has forged an alliance with Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd. and DENSO Corporation for a fully-integrated, production-quality software for automated driving.

TMC, Aisin, and DENSO plan to invest more than ¥300 billion in TRI-AD, which would employ around 1,000 employees including external recruitment and staff from TMC, TRI, and Toyota Group Companies Aisin and DENSO. "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," said Dr. James Kuffner, TRI Chief Technology Officer and will lead TRI-AD as its Chief Technology Officer.

Toyota, along with Aisin and DENSO, is decided to establish the new company to strengthen further its competitiveness. TRI, TRI-AD, and TMC will have a streamlined relationship, resulting in a fast-track, truly integrated development model.

In particular, the new company aims to create a smooth software pipeline from research-to-commercialization, leveraging data-handling capabilities; strengthen coordination with TRI and efficiently link research results to product development; strengthen collaboration within the Toyota Group; and recruit and employ top-level engineers globally.

The three companies will hold further discussions, aiming to conclude a concrete joint development contract. The automotive industry is now in an era of profound transformation. High-quality software development and big data from connected vehicles will be crucial to success. In 2016, Toyota established Toyota Research Institute in North America to conduct research in the areas of artificial intelligence, automated driving, and robotics.

"Toyota is known for the quality and efficiency of the Toyota Production System (TPS). I have no doubt that we can translate the fundamental ideas of TPS from the production of hardware to the production of software, and dramatically enhance Toyota's software capabilities," said Dr. Gill Pratt, TMC Fellow, TRI Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the new TRI-AD Board of Directors. "That's what TRI has been working for, and that's what the new company will push even further."