Toyota to streamline its self-driving car development

March 5, 2018

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.

MORE: The 5 levels of self-driving cars, explained

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

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