Toyota Announces New Company dedicated to Autonomous Driving

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) announced on Friday a new company in Tokyo called “Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development” (TRI-AD) which will be aimed at accelerating efforts in development for autonomous driving.

Toyota will be partnering with Aisin Seiki Co. and Denso Corporation in a joint effort to develop software for autonomous driving. The three companies will discuss further matters regarding the contract going forward.

The three companies plan to invest more than 300 billion yen or $2.84 billion in TRI-AD. The company is targeting a staff of 1,000 employees while recruiting employees from both Toyota, TRI (Toyota Research Institute), Aisin and Denso. Employees will be required to know English. The new company will be led by James Kuffner, current Toyota Research Institute Chief Technology Officer.

Toyota set a self-imposed deadline of 2020 for autonomous vehicles to drive themselves on freeways, and then eventually city-like streets few years after. The new company focused on self driving technology will speed up the development allowing Toyota to possibly push the technology out quicker.

"Building production-quality software is a critical success factor for Toyota's automated driving program," said 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.”

“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 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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