Car maker Toyota is looking to the future, by investing $1 billion in a research company looking to develop artificial intelligence and robotics, reports the L.A. Times.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda said Friday (Nov. 6) that the new company will begin operating in January with 200 employees at a facility in Silicon Valley, near Stanford University. Also, a second facility will be established near Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
The interest in A.I. for Toyota will extend beyond autonomous driving, said the report.
Furthermore, Toyota has already shown off 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.
Robotics expert Gill Pratt, who will head Toyota Research Institute Inc., said the company’s goals are to support older people in their homes with robotics, make cars free of accidents and use AI to allow all people to drive regardless of ability.