Betting big on automated driving, Toyota is all set to establish a new company in Tokyo in the latter part of this month to accelerate its efforts in advanced development for automated driving. The company named as “Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development” (TRI-AD) will be setup with an initial investment of 300 billion yen and 1000 English speaking employees, said Japanese carmaker. Dr. James Kuffner, who currently head TRI as Chief Technology Officer, will lead the new company as its first CEO.
For new company, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd. (Aisin), and Denso Corporation (Denso) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on joint development of fully-integrated, production-quality software for automated driving. In future, the three companies will hold further discussions, aiming to conclude a concrete joint development contract, said Toyota.
The carmaker informed that together, TMC, Aisin and Denso plan to invest more than 300 billion yen in TRI-AD. The new company is targeting a staff of approximately 1,000 employees, including external recruitment and staff from TMC, TRI, and Toyota Group Companies Aisin and Denso. 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 Dr. 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. We will recruit globally, and I am thrilled to lead this effort.”
The automotive industry is now in an era of profound transformation. High-quality software development and big data from connected vehicles will be crucial to success. To respond to such changes, Toyota established Toyota Research Institute, Inc. (TRI) in North America in 2016 to conduct research in the areas of artificial intelligence, automated driving, and robotics. The new company is aimed at strengthening its competitiveness even further.
“Toyota is known for the quality and efficiency of the Toyota Production System (TPS). 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 Dr. 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.”