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Toyota, DENSO, & Aisin to Invest $2.8 billion in Self-Driving Software Development

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【Summary】Another major automaker is planning for its inevitable autonomous future. Toyota Motor Co announced it will establish a new company in Tokyo this month named the “Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development” (TRI-AD) that will accelerate its efforts in advanced development for autonomous driving.

Eric Walz    Mar 02, 2018 1:14 PM PT
Toyota, DENSO, & Aisin to Invest $2.8 billion in Self-Driving Software Development
author: Eric Walz   

Another major automaker is planning for its inevitable autonomous future. Toyota Motor Co announced it will establish a new company in Tokyo this month named the "Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development" (TRI-AD) that will accelerate its efforts in advanced development for autonomous driving.

To enable the new efforts at TRI-AD, Toyota Motor Corporation, along with its major suppliers Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd. and DENSO Corporation have concluded a memorandum of understanding on joint development of production-quality software for automated driving. Going forward, the three companies will hold further discussions, aiming to conclude a concrete joint development contract.

Together, Toyota, Aisin and DENSO plan to invest more than 300 billion yen ($2.8 billion) in TRI-AD. The new company is targeting a staff of approximately 1,000 employees, including external recruitment and staff from TMC, TRI, and Toyota Group Companies Aisin and DENSO.

Toyota is in the process of selecting a location in Tokyo that is competitive in terms of accessibility and recruitment. Dr. James Kuffner, currently TRI Chief Technology Officer, will lead TRI-AD as its CEO.

"Building production-quality software is a critical success factor for Toyota's automated driving program," said Dr. Kuffner. "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. We will recruit globally, and I am thrilled to lead this effort."

The entire automotive industry is undergoing a transformation towards autonomy and connectivity and mobility services. High-quality software development and big data from connected vehicles will be crucial to success. In response to these changes, Toyota established Toyota Research Institute, Inc. (TRI) in the heart of Silicon Valley in 2016 to conduct research in the areas of artificial intelligence, automated driving, and robotics.

TRI-AD, the Toyota Research Institute and Toyota Motors will have a streamlined relationship, enabling a speedy, collaborative development process. The key objectives of the new company include creating a smooth software pipeline from research-to-commercialization, leveraging data-handling capabilities. TRI-AD will also strengthen the collaboration within the Toyota Group on research and development and recruit top talent globally.

"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 CEO 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."

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