Toyota Research Institute to further AI and robotics research

A recent article published on November 9th, 2015 in Gizmag, http://www.gizmag.com/toyota-research-institute-robotics-ai/40284/, states that Toyota Motor Corporation has announced that it will commit $1 billion over the next 5 years to establish the Toyota Research Institute (TRI). TRI will be a research and development center that will initially focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and on robotics. Toyota is tasked with developing technologies to increase driving safety and to improve mobility and quality of life, particularly for the elderly. The initial focus of TRI will be to focus on technologies intended to improve the accessibility and safety of vehicles through looking at the way machines and people work together. Rather than focusing on the development of fully autonomous vehicles, TRI will focus on accident avoidance and expanding driver opportunities to everyone regardless of their abilities. Toyota also has aspirations to use big data and robotics research to help improve the quality of life for everyone, not just drivers. TRI will begin operations in January of 2016, and will be headquartered near both Stanford University and MIT.

How can AI and robotics increase driving safety and improve mobility and quality of life for people? Will other large companies invest into this technology as much as Toyota?

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