Around the world, automakers, suppliers and tech companies are scrambling to put a reliable, effective autonomous vehicle on the road. There is no clear path to the finish line, as such, Toyota is joining forces with two other suppliers to form a new $2.8 billion company to get the job done.
Called Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development, or TRI-AD. The Japanese automaker is starting the company in conjunction with automotive suppliers Aisin Seiki and Denso. In addition to the $2.8 billion investment, the company plans to hire around 1,000 employees to develop software systems that can power fully self-driving vehicles.
Toyota is in the process of selecting a location in Tokyo that is competitive in terms of accessibility and recruitment.
“Building production-quality software is a critical success factor for Toyota’s automated driving program,” said James Kuffner, currently TRI chief technology officer, will lead TRI-AD as its CEO.
(Toyota donates $5 million to autonomous vehicle test facility. Click Here for the story.)
“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 new company is part of the Toyota Research Institute, which was founded by Toyota in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 2015. The $1 billion start-up explores artificial intelligence with a focus on autonomous vehicles and robotics and hired the former head of the DARPA Robotics Challenge to lead the effort.
(Click Here for details about Toyota’s potentially revolutionary long-range EV battery.)
Aiming to strengthen its competitiveness even further, Toyota, together with Aisin and Denso, decided to establish the new company announced today. TRI, TRI-AD and TMC will have a streamlined relationship, resulting in a fast-track, truly integrated development model. The key objectives of the new company include the following:
- 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 the collaboration within the Toyota Group in the domains of research and advanced development.
- Recruit and employ top-level engineers globally, while cultivating and coordinating the strong talent within the Toyota Group.
“Toyota is known for the quality and efficiency of the Toyota Production System,” said Gill Pratt, TMC Fellow, TRI CEO and Chairman of the new TRI-AD Board of Directors.
(To see more about Toyota’s plans up to now for an autonomous vehicle, Click Here.)
“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 “That’s what TRI has been working for, and that’s what the new company will push even further.”