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Toyota, Aisin and Denso to invest $2.8bn for automated driving research

ABR Staff Writer Published 05 March 2018

Toyota, Denso Corp and Aisin Seiki said that they will establish a new company in Tokyo, Japan to provide fully-integrated, production-quality software for automated driving.

The new company, dubbed Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD), will be established in the latter part of this month.

Toyota Research Institute CTO James Kuffner will lead the new company, which will accelerate its efforts in advanced development for automated driving.

Together, TMC, Aisin and Denso intend to spend more than JPY300bn ($2.8bn) in TRI-AD

Toyota will be the major shareholder in TRI-AD owning 90% of the stake, while Aisin Seiki and Denso will each own 5% stake.

The companies have concluded a memorandum of understanding in this regard. Going forward, the three companies will hold further discussions, aiming to conclude a concrete joint development contract.

TRI-AD is expected to have 1,000 employees. The new company will create new software pipeline from research-to-commercialization, using data-handling capabilities.

It will work in coordination with Toyota Research Institute (TRI), which was established in 2016 in North America and will link research results to product development. It will also coordinate with Toyota Group in the domains of research and advanced development.

Kuffner said: "Building production-quality software is a critical success factor for Toyota's automated driving program.

"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. We will recruit globally, and I am thrilled to lead this effort."

Toyota stated that presently, the automotive industry is an era of profound transformation. Software development and big data from connected vehicles are expected to play an important role in the industry.

The TRI has been in the development of a self-driving technology for some time and has also showcased its Level 3 version, Lexus LS 600hL test vehicle at CES in Las Vegas early this year. The vehicle uses sensors like LiDAR to monitor the environment, but a driver should be at the wheel for security and safety purposes.


Image: Lexus LS 600hL outfitted with self-driving capabilities. Photo: Courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation.