With numerous disruptive technologies emerging in the automotive sector, Toyota has not been left behind.
In fact, the company’s recent venture aims at investing more than US$2.8 billion to create automated driving software.
This effort makes Toyota, one of the leading car manufacturers in the world, to join the ranks of companies that are exploring the future of mobility through self-driving technologies.
In a show of its dedication towards research and development of self-driving cars, Toyota announced its collaboration with two of its suppliers including Aisin Seiki and Denso.
The Japanese car giant will own than 90 percent of the entire project while the rest would be shared equally amongst the suppliers, 5 percent each. In addition, the joint venture will draw together about 1000 employees including recruits.
Toyota and its partners seek to put in approximately $3 billion into their venture or company, which will be geared towards developing product-quality software intended for driverless or autonomous cars.
The funds, which are equivalent to 300 billion yen, will be received by the Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD).
According to a statement by James Kuffer, the head of the Toyota-led venture, the company’s objective will include expediting software development in a way that is more disruptive and effective.
This process will be done by enhancing Toyota’s potential through the recruitment of world-class software engineers.
Kuffer also added that the company’s operations would kick-start with 300 employees before ultimately reaching 1,000 employees after some time.
Once the Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development builds the fully-integrated, production-quality technology for driverless cars, the subsequent goal will include linking the software with autonomous vehicles that have been developed in-house.
This endeavor aims to help Toyota to attain its complete independence at a faster rate.
Also, the creation of the new company, TRI-AD, by Toyota and its partners comes at a time when other leading companies like Tesla and Waymo are giving traditional car manufacturers a run for their money as far as building electric and self-driving cars is concerned.
Aside from the Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development project, Toyota is currently investing about US$1 billion in artificial intelligence (AI) among other technologies by using its US-based Toyota Research Institute.
As a testament to its success in this undertaking, the company has managed to close major partnerships with leading technology companies such as Uber and Microsoft.
In the previous month, Toyota Research Institute’s venture capital unit announced that it was co-leading an $11.5 million seed investment in May Mobility.
May Mobility is a startup that prides itself on creating self-driving shuttles meant for central business districts (CBDs), college campuses among other alike low-speed applications. Both Toyota AI Venture and BMW I Ventures co-led the round.
Additionally, May Mobility hopes to connect communities by leveraging its full-service driverless fleets, which operate in controlled environments.
How long the $2.8 billion company, Tri-AD, will take to attain its goals remains a matter of time and patience. N
evertheless, the whole idea behind self-driving cars can be expected to transform the automotive industry significantly in the coming years.