Toyota has announced a new partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University, aimed at accelerating the development of artificial intelligence and robotics.
The Japanese car maker will pump $50 million into newly formed research centers at MIT and Stanford. Any developments will be shared with Toyota, and could be adapted to the company’s self-driving program.
Toyota said it would start implementing self-driving features into its vehicles as soon as this year, but does not intend to remove the driver anytime soon. It wants driverless systems to work in all weathers, where low visibility might make it hard for a human to navigate.
AI is extremely important for the advancement of autonomous technology, as cars will eventually have to think like humans and make quick decisions on the road. Partnering with top universities is a way for automakers to get a boost in the technology department. Toyota is not the first automaker to work with universities to build artificial intelligence and robotics for cars. Uber worked with a team of students from Carnegie Mellon University to build its self-driving division, and Stanford and MIT have both incubated successful driverless projects.