Economy, Auto

Toyota to Build AI-Based Driving Systems

Toyota to Build AI-Based Driving SystemsToyota to Build AI-Based Driving Systems

Toyota Motor Corp is targeting developing in the next five years driver assistance systems that integrate artificial intelligence to improve vehicle safety, the head of its advanced research division said.

Gill Pratt, CEO of the recently set up Toyota Research Institute, the Japanese automaker's research and development company that focuses on AI, said it aims to improve car safety by enabling vehicles to anticipate and avoid potential accident situations, Reuters reported.

Toyota has said the institute will spend $1 billion over the next five years, as competition to develop self-driving cars intensifies.

Earlier this month, home rival Honda Motor Company said it was setting up a new research body that would focus on artificial intelligence, joining other global automakers investing in robotics research, including Ford and Volkswagen.

"Some of the things that are in car safety, which is a near-term priority, I'm very confident that we will have some advances come out during the next five years," Pratt told reporters late last week in comments embargoed for Monday.

The concept of allowing vehicles to think, act and take some control from drivers to perform evasive maneuvers forms a key platform of Toyota's efforts to produce a car that can drive automatically on highways by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

While currently driver assistance systems largely use image sensors to avoid obstacles, including vehicles and pedestrians within the car's lane, Pratt said TRI was looking at AI solutions to enable "the car to be evasive beyond the one lane".

Pratt declined to comment on a media report earlier this month that Toyota is in talks with Google's parent company Alphabet to acquire Boston Dynamics and Schafts, both of which are robotics divisions of the technology company.