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Toyota is seeking to expand into the field of artificial intelligence with the goal of ensuring that its cars can avoid collisions on its own. The top Japanese automaker will be putting in US$50 million (RM215 million) to set-up two research centres at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University, Automotive News reports.

To be spent over a period of five years, the technology will not be entirely autonomous – a driver will still be required behind the wheel. The research, it was reported, will centre on software that can identify objects in various settings which will then collaborate with passengers, pedestrians alongside other vehicles in coming up with “wise driving judgements” on its own.

Robotics expert, Gill Pratt from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a division from the Pentagon, has been employed by Toyota to achieve this task. “Our goal is to eliminate highway collisions without eliminating the fun of driving,” he said, further pointing out that another key goal was to provide mobility for everyone regardless of age or illness.

Kiyotaka Ise, senior managing officer at Toyota and chief officer of the R&D group stated, “we will initially focus on the acceleration of intelligent vehicle technology, with the immediate goal of helping eliminate traffic casualties and the ultimate goal of helping improve quality of life through enhanced mobility and robotics.”

Ise noted that Toyota was aware of the significance of autonomous technology acknowledging that there was increasing competition from not just competing carmakers but tech companies as well.