Toyota revealed more details about its ambitious AI and robotics effort yesterday at CES in Las Vegas. Dr. Gill Pratt, who leads the effort as CEO of the newly formed Toyota Research Institute (TRI), announced an impressive line-up of engineers and executives to head its technical leadership team and advisory board. Among the hires is James Kuffner, who until recently led Google’s robotics program and will focus on cloud computing at TRI. The advisers include notable technologists like Rodney Brooks from Rethink Robotics and Marc Benioff from Salesforce.
Late last year, Toyota unveiled a US $1 billion program to advance AI and robotics, hoping to make cars safer and smarter, and also develop useful, reliable home robots to assist people. TRI established a research partnership with Stanford and MIT and will open offices near those institutions in Palo Alto, Calif., and Cambridge, Mass., respectively. The automaker, which apparently holds more autonomous car patents than any other company, says it has nearly 30 projects ready to be developed in collaboration with the Stanford and MIT researchers.