Toyota Collaborating on $35 Million Artificial Intelligence Projects

Toyota’s research until will collaborate with partners using artificial intelligence (AI) for advanced batteries, fuel cells, and other material science objectives.

Silicon Valley-based Toyota Research Institute (TRI) will put up about $35 million over the next four years to work with research centers, universities and companies that are skilled in using AI to develop needed advanced materials.

Priority projects include identifying advanced battery materials and fuel cell catalysts needed to power Toyota’s next wave of zero-emission and carbon-neutral vehicles. It will also facilitate Toyota’s corporate mission of reducing carbon emissions drastically by 2050.

“Toyota recognizes that artificial intelligence is a vital basic technology that can be leveraged across a range of industries, and we are proud to use it to expand the boundaries of materials science,” said TRI chief science officer Eric Krotkov. “Accelerating the pace of materials discovery will help lay the groundwork for the future of clean energy and bring us even closer to achieving Toyota’s vision of reducing global average new-vehicle CO2 emissions by 90 percent by 2050.”

TRI is having talks with potential research partners, and already has collaborations with Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Michigan, the University at Buffalo, the University of Connecticut, and U.K.-based materials science company Ilika.

Toyota would like to see the research and development process sped up, as government mandates tighten up for reductions in carbon and other emissions. The company sees making this investment and forging research alliances vital to accelerating a process that used to take decades.

The projects are tapping into new models used in materials science research including advanced computational materials modeling, new sources of experimental data, machine learning, and AI.

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Its research center, and other Toyota units, are also involved in other advanced vehicle AI technologies including robotics and connected car communication systems.

Launched at CES 2017 in Las Vegas earlier this year, the Toyota Concept-i came from the company’s fascination with AI and demand for customized mobility. Concept-i was designed by Toyota’s CALTY Design Research in Newport Beach, Calif., and from user experience technology development that come from Toyota Innovation Hub in San Francisco.

TRI is setting project objectives with partners that will include new automated materials discovery systems that integrate simulation, machine learning, AI, and potentially, robotics. The company expects this method will move forward its goals in next-generation EV batteries and fuel cells.

Toyota’s research unit, launched in 2015, works with four core business areas: materials science discovery; auto safety with automated technology; increased mobility for consumers unable to drive; and assistance in translating outdoor mobility technology into products designed for indoor mobility.


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