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Toyota has announced that it will be investing a further USD$1 billion (RM4.3 billion) on top of the initial USD$50 million (RM215 million). This, along with the establishment of the Toyota Research Insititute (TRI), a new R&D enterprise, which will focus on artificial intelligence and robotics – key components of the company’s goal towards autonomous technology.

Slated to commence operations in January 2016, the Toyota Research Institute will be headquartered in Silicon Valley, nearby the Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. A second institute will be situated near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge.

The USD$50 million, which the automotive giant announced earlier will be used to set-up separate joint AI research centres at both universities. The larger portion of the investment, will be utilised to fund operations and staff both institutes and is to be spent over a period of five years.

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The institute will bring together fundamental research and product development. Its main mission is to accelerate R&D in various fields to help resolve future challenges by society through AI and “big data.” It will be led by Dr. Gill Pratt, Toyota’s executive technical advisor and CEO of TRI who will head leading researchers and engineers.

Pratt stated that the goals of the institute includes, improving safety to decrease the chances of an accident, to make driving accessible to all and to apply Toyota’s outdoor mobility technologies to indoor environments, to support the elderly. That, alongside “improving production efficiency and accelerating scientific discovery in materials,” Dr. Pratt said.