Toyota has finally decided to enter the self-driving car race with a USD 50 million investment in the coming 5 years. The Japanese automaker has decided to set up a joint research center at Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop its "intelligent" self-driving cars. The focus of the research will be to develop a system in which the car recognises its surroundings and take certain actions to prevent accidents, thus improving road safety.
Fei-Fei Li, director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, will handle the research at Stanford end while Electrical engineering and computer science Professor Daniela Rus will be the head of research at MIT. Fei-Fei Li said, "Our team will work to help intelligent vehicles recognize objects in the road, predict behaviours of things and people, and make safe and smart driving decisions under diverse conditions."
Toyota's Senior Managing Officer Kiyotaka Ise said in a statement, "We will initially focus on the acceleration of intelligent vehicle technology, with the immediate goal of helping eliminate traffic casualties and the ultimate goal of helping improve quality of life through enhanced mobility and robotics."
Gill Pratt, former Program Manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the Pentagon has been made incharge of this project by Toyota. Pratt said, "This bold collaboration will address extremely complex mobility challenges using groundbreaking artificial intelligence research. I'm thrilled to be a part of the synergies and talent sharing of Toyota, MIT, and Stanford." He added, the researchers aim at developing intelligent vehicle technologies that can better "recognize objects around the vehicle in diverse environments, provide elevated judgement of surrounding conditions, and safely collaborate with vehicle occupants, other vehicles, and pedestrians,"
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