(San Diego Union Tribune) — Toyota is investing $1 billion in a research company it’s setting up in Silicon Valley to develop artificial intelligence and robotics. The company will start operating in January with 200 employees at a facility near Stanford University. Gill Pratt, robotics expert who was formerly a program manager at the U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, will head the new organization called Toyota Research Institute.
Toyota said its interests extend beyond autonomous driving. The company has already shown an R2-D2-like robot designed to help the elderly, the sick and people in wheelchairs by picking up and carrying objects. The automaker has also shown human-shaped entertainment robots that can converse and play musical instruments. Toyota uses sophisticated robotic arms in auto production.Tags: AI, DARPA, Gill Pratt, robotics, Silicon Valley, Toyota