Toyota to open third U. S. research lab to advance self-driving cars

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 9:26 PM

S. research lab in Ann Arbor, MI in June for the study of artificial intelligence, robotics and materials science to spur the development of self-driving cars.

Toyota Motor Co said on Thursday it'd open its third U. S. research lab in Ann Arbor, MI in June for the study of artificial intelligence, robotics and materials science to spur the development of self-driving cars.

The Japanese automaker already has a research lab in the Silicon Valley technology hub of Palo Alto, where it works with Stanford University, and another in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where it collaborates with MIT. Its new facility close the Univ of MI will have a staff of about fifty employees.

The world'south top-selling automaker announced in Nov that it'd invest $1 billion in research and development over the following five years in artificial intelligence technologies, which are critical to the computer brains of self-driving cars.

Toyota'south investment in R&D comes as contest in the fast-moving field of autonomous vehicles expands beyond carmakers in Asia, Europe and the United States to non-traditional sources such as Alphabet'south Google and Apple.

The new Ann Arbor facility will focus primarily on fully autonomous driving, in which the car takes full control, the company said. The Palo Alto lab will concentrate on what Toyota calls "guardian angel" driving, in which the car assists for safety functions, but the driver is always engaged at the wheel. The Cambridge lab will focus on simulation and deep learning.

Some thirty projects are already underway with researchers at Stanford and MIT, Toyota said, adding that it'd continue to cooperate with other automakers, suppliers, technology companies and universities to jointly expand autonomous technologies.

The CEO of the Toyota Research Institute, Gil Pratt, announced the move at the GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, California.

(Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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