Toyota Invests $1B in AI to Support Self-Driving Cars


Toyota plans to invest $1 billion in artificial intelligence and establish research centers to support self-driving cars.

Japanese auto giant Toyota announced it will invest $1billion in AI research over the next five years, according to a Nov. 6 report from IndustryWeek. The company plans to also invest another $50 million to establish AI research centers at MIT and Stanford universities.

“Toyota believes artificial intelligence has significant potential to support future industrial technologies and the creation of an entirely new industry,” the company said in a statement. “To underscore this belief, it is making an initial investment of $1 billion over the next five years.”

Toyota plans to create the Toyota Research Institute and headquarter it in Silicon Valley. A second facility will be opened near MIT in Massachusetts. This push for artificial intelligence comes as self-driving cars have become the hot new thing for automakers. The technology relies heavily on AI and Toyota’s facility is the latest entry, joining those owned by Ford, Tesla, Google. Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, Nissan, and Volkswagen.

Operations at the new facilities are expected to begin in January.

RTInsights Take: Artificial intelligence is key to self-driving cars (also called “robocars” or “autonomous vehicles.” The vehicles must make smart, real-time decisions from car data and real-time geospatial data, including acceleration, braking, and turning. There are some worries that self-driving cars can be hacked. Another concern is that, in the case of a potential accident, the AI system must make moral decisions about whether to save passengers or pedestrians.

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Sue Walsh

About Sue Walsh

Sue Walsh is News Writer for RTInsights, and a freelance writer and social media manager living in New York City. Her specialties include tech, security and e-commerce. You can follow her on Twitter at @girlfridaygeek.

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