Toyota Research Institute, Inc. (TRI) CEO Dr. Gill Pratt (CES16)

Toyota and University of Michigan Working To Accelerate AI Research

On 10 August, Toyota Motor Corporation announced that its Artificial Intelligence research and development branch, the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), would begin working in cooperation with the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

TRI was established by Toyota in the US in January of 2016 with the company planning to fund the institute to the sum of $22,000,000 over the course of the next four years. TRI will work with scientists at U of M in terms research and development of technologies of starting with improving automotive safety, multi-functional mobile assistant robots and autonomous cars.

This collaboration was brought about by projects and cooperative efforts that Toyota and TRI have pursued in the past in Ann Arbor. Toyota’s North American R&D lab, the Toyota Technical Center, has a long history of working with U of M researching into safety technology. Furthermore, the company has supported the university’s Mobility Transformation Center that runs the test driving facility “Mcity” as a sponsor since the center’s inception.

Along with this collaboration, TRI established its third base of operations in Ann Arbor in June of this year. In order to further facilitate research into automotive technology, U of M professors Ryan Eustice and Edwin Olson will be serving as TRI advisors in addition to their primary roles as university employees.

In regards to the two working together, TRI CEO Gill Pratt commented that “Toyota has established a long and fruitful relationship with the University of Michigan. That we were able to further that partnership in such that we will be working to solve complex issues of mobility through artificial intelligence makes us all very happy. We hope to work towards researching new kinds of AI technology in order to provide our customers with safe, reliable, and effective means of transportation.”

[Translated by Bryce Clarke]