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Toyota to open third research facility for autonomous driving

Announced by Dr Gill Pratt, TRI chief executive, speaking at the GPU Technology Conference in San Jose yesterday (7 April), the new centre, known as TRI-ANN, is due to open in June this year and will be located in Ann Arbor, close to the University of Michigan campus.

It will join the TRI facility which opened in Palo Alto in January (TRI-PAL) to work with Stanford University, and TRI-CAM in Cambridge, which works with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Toyota also has two technical centres nearby, which have been researching the concept of autonomous vehicles for more than a decade.

Each TRI facility will have a different core discipline: TRI-ANN will focus primarily on fully autonomous (chauffeured) driving; TRI-PAL will work on so-called “guardian angel” driving, where the driver is always engaged, with the vehicle assisting when needed; and TRI-CAM dedicating a large part of its work to simulation and deep learning.

Beyond these, TRI is engaging in multiple projects with the three universities and is also pursuing collaboration with other carmakers, IT companies, suppliers, research labs and academic institutions for the joint development of autonomous technologies.

Dr Pratt said: “Although the industry, including Toyota, has made great strides in the last five years, much of what we have collectively accomplished has been easy, because most driving is easy. Where we need autonomy to help most is when the driving is difficult.  It’s this hard part that TRI intends to address.

“Toyota’s goal is safe mobility for all, at any time, in any place, and the tremendous improvements in quality of life that such universal mobility can bring.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.