Toyota Is Investing $2.8 Billion In A Self-Driving Research Facility

toyota futuristic autonomous car

Toyota is unstoppable! The Japanese automotive manufacturer has spent the last years investing in self-driving technology research and partnerships to push the development of smart cars. 

Now, they’ve partnered up with Denso Corp. and Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd. to form a new company dedicated to the improvement of such technologies so that Toyota could tech the lead in the industry. The future venture shall be called the Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development or TRI-AD. As you can imagine, to get ahead of rivals like Nissan, Ford or General Motors,  the companies had to invest a lot, 300 billion yen or around $2.8 billion to be more exact.

The plan is to bring 1,000 employees to the HQ alone, newly hired or part of the old team. The recruitment is not limited to Japan, though; no, the triad is looking for international talent as well, planning to bring in experts from around the world. #automagic

The overall goal of the new venture will be to develop “fully-integrated, production-quality software for automated driving.” Up to this point, the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has helped the manufacturer show level 3 autonomous driving at the CES show in January. What does that mean? Well, most of the time the car can drive by itself, knowing the path beforehand and navigating it easily. It needs the driver’s intervention only when something unexpected happens. The system will alert the pilot of its confusion immediately and the human behind the wheel has to react promptly.

To achieve level 5 – full automation -, is a bit harder than it sounds. At this point, the car has to know how to drive and respond to traffic situations just as a human would. The driver just has to enter the destination and lay back. Not even Tesla got to this point, but rumor is Waymo is close to achieve it. 

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