Toyota is establishing a new company to help speed up its self-driving research development. In order to form the Toyota Research Institute Advanced Development (or TRI-AD), the company has teamed up with other Japanese entities Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd. and Denso Corporation. The companies are still trying to figure out how things will work in the joint venture, but they all have one clear goal in mind: to develop a “fully-integrated, production-quality software for automated driving.”
In terms of financing, the partners will invest around $2.8 billion (300 billion yen) to achieve the goal they've set. Now, they're looking to find the perfect location for their headquarters in Tokyo. Once they've decided on a location, they will proceed to bring on 1,000 employees for the headquarters, including both newly hired individuals and bring their own to the team.
Dr. James Kuffner, TRI-AD's CEO, said the following in a statement:
“Building production-quality software is a critical success factor for Toyota's automated driving program. This company's mission is to accelerate software development in a more effective and disruptive way, by augmenting the Toyota Group's capability through the hiring of world-class software engineers. We will recruit globally, and I am thrilled to lead this effort.”
The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has been developing the company's self-driving technology for while now. Earlier this year at CES, they debuted the level 3 version of its autonomous driving system. Level 3 basically means that the system can already use sensors like LiDAR to monitor the driving environment, but a driver is still needed behind the wheel to pay attention to the road. Toyota and other companies are pursuing this venture to reach the point of full automation much faster than Toyota would on its own.