Toyota Forms Autonomous Tech Venture with Aisin Seiki and Denso
Toyota Motor Corp. is teaming up with supplier affiliates Aisin Seiki Co. and Denso Corp. to form a new company that will develop software for self-driving cars.
The partners are investing a combined 300 billion yen ($2.8 billion) into the Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD) venture. Toyota will hold a 90% stake in the company, while the remaining 10% will be split equally between Aisin Seiki and Denso.
TRI-AD initially will employ 300 people and could eventually staff up to 1,000 workers. The company, which will use English as its day-to-day business language, plans to recruit globally. James Kuffner, currently chief technology officer at the Silicon Valley-based Toyota Research Institute, will serve as CEO.
TRI-AD will focus on the development of “production-quality” software for automated driving. The company will serve as a bridge between product development and two-year-old TRI, which will continue to focus on pure research.
TRI-AD engineers will use big data collected from connected vehicles to help develop the software. Toyota says the new company’s mission is to accelerate and more effectively develop software in conjunction with ongoing technical and social disruptions that are impacting the auto industry.
The carmaker aims to launch vehicles capable of driving themselves on highways by around 2020.
Robert Bosch GmbH has made an unspecified investment in DeepMap Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup specializing in mapping technologies for autonomous vehicles.
Honda Motor Co. is launching a “SmartCharge” pilot program that allows customers to coordinate charging times for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid for non-peak grid times.
The way people are going to get transportation is changing the world over. Get ready for it.