Toyota looks to bring artificial intelligence to driverless cars

Toyota will invest $US50 million ($A71m) in intelligent vehicle and mobility technologies and establish research centres at Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The company said in a statement that Dr. Gill Pratt, former Program Manager at DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and leader of its recent Robotics Challenge, has joined Toyota to direct and accelerate these research activities and their application to intelligent vehicles and robotics.

Kiyotaka Ise, TMC Senior Managing Officer and Chief Officer, R&D Group, said: “We will initially focus on the acceleration of intelligent vehicle technology, with the immediate goal of helping eliminate traffic casualties and the ultimate goal of helping improve quality of life through enhanced mobility and robotics.”

 Dr. Gill Pratt said, “Key program areas will be addressed by the two university campuses and Toyota, with combined research targeted at improving the ability of intelligent vehicle technologies to recognize objects around the vehicle in diverse environments, provide elevated judgment of surrounding conditions, and safely collaborate with vehicle occupants, other vehicles, and pedestrians. ”

 Research at MIT will be led by Professor Daniela Rus, Andrew (1956) and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Director of the Institute’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). 

“Our team will collaborate with Stanford and Toyota to develop advanced architectures that allow cars to better perceive and navigate their surroundings in order to make safe driving decisions,” said Professor Rus.  “These efforts will play a major role in helping reduce traffic casualties, and potentially even helping us develop a vehicle incapable of getting into a collision."