Toyota Commits $22M to U-M Autonomous Driving Research


The Toyota Research Institute has made an initial commitment of $22 million to Ann Arbor-based University of Michigan’s research autonomous driving program, as well as its artificial intelligence and robotics endeavors.

Under the agreement, The Toyota Research Institute will provide the funds over four years for research collaborations with the U-M faculty in the areas of enhanced driving safety, partner robotics and indoor mobility, autonomous technology, and student learning and diversity.

“We look forward to collaborating with U-M’s research faculty and students to develop new intelligent technologies that will help drivers travel more safely, securely, and efficiently,” says Gill Pratt, CEO of the Toyota Research Institute. “We will also focus on expanding the benefit of mobility technology to in-home support of older persons and those with special needs.”

Toyota Research Institute recently announced the establishment of its new Ann Arbor research facility, which joins the institute’s offices in Palo Alto, Calif., near Stanford University, and in Cambridge, Mass., near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The new facility will be near the university as well as two Toyota Technical center campuses.

Toyota is also a founding partner of U-M’s Mobility Transformation Center, an interdisciplinary public-private research and development initiative that is developing the foundation for a commercially viable ecosystem of connected and automated vehicles.

In addition, Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center sponsors research at the U-M Transportation Research Institute, which focuses on advanced safety technologies.

“Our labs at U-M push the envelope of what robots can sense and understand about the world, and Toyota Research Institute provides an opportunity to apply these discoveries into real-world products,” says Ryan Eustice, associate professor at U-M.

Toyota Research Institute is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor North America. The company, established in 2015 with a $1 billion investment, aims to strengthen Toyota’s research structure.