Toyota said last week that it will invest billions into creating a new, wholly-owned company devoted exclusively to researching and developing self-driving cars
Partnering with automotive suppliers Aisin and Denso, Toyota says that it is investing $2.8 billion into the Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD). The three parties signed a memorandum of understanding with the ultimate goal of eventually employing as many as 1,000 workers dedicated to developing software to allow vehicles to drive themselves without human intervention.
The new company traces its roots to many Toyota projects, but is mainly a spin-off of the Silicon Valley-based Toyota Research Institute. In part, the three-way venture is designed to streamline what Toyota and its partners were already doing, albeit under a single banner.
“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,” TRI-AD’s newly named CEO, James Kuffner, said in a statement.
What's not clear is how TRI-AD will integrate with the automaker's growing electrification efforts, which are considered paramount to self-driving cars.
TRI-AD’s home office is in Tokyo, where it will serve as a link to the automaker’s new car development engineers.
-- by Ruben Porras