Seeing as cars are all just going to drive themselves in future, vehicle manufacturers are wise to branch out into technologies that will support those developments. In Toyota’s case, that takes the form of a $1 billion investment in a Silicon Valley AI research centre.
The new Toyota Research Institute will be located near Stanford in Silicon Valley, with 200 employees working on a range of robotics and AI research. The head of the facility, Gill Pratt, told the AP that “the company’s goals are to support older people in homes, not just outdoors, with robotics, as well as making cars free of accidents and having everyone driving regardless of ability”.
So, while everyone’s speculating about Apple and Google building cars, it looks like Toyota might be quietly infringing on the electronics giants' turf. There’s no timeline for when we might see an actual product out of the facility, but $1 billion in cash seems to indicate more than a sideline hobby. [Associated Press]