Tag Archives: TRI

Toyota pushes into blockchain tech to enable the next generation of cars

On the same day that Ford officially ousted its chief executive in a bid to remake itself as future-focused vehicle manufacturer, Toyota announced its own steps to embrace technology’s next wave.

Andwhile Ford is looking to catch up to the leaders in autonomous and electric vehicle manufacturing, Toyota (through the Toyota Research Institute) appears to be taking the next fork in the road toward enabling that autonomous and electric future.

Together with MIT’s Media Lab, Toyota has enlisted a series of partners that specialize in different aspects of blockchain technology (the distributed, encrypted ledger technology that powers the cryptocurrency bitcoin) to explore how the technology may be applied to the car industry.

Toyota unveiled a number of projects that aimed to address how software will help people become comfortable with autonomous technologies. That means monitoring and distributing information about the safety of individual vehicles, the way owners use the cars, and cut down on fraud.

“Hundreds of billions of miles of human driving data may be needed to develop safe and reliable autonomous vehicles,” said Chris Ballinger, director of mobility services and chief financial officer at Toyota’s research institute, in a statement. “Blockchains and distributed ledgers may enable pooling data from vehicle owners, fleet managers, and manufacturers to shorten the time for reaching this goal, thereby bringing forward the safety, efficiency and convenience benefits of autonomous driving technology.”

Initially the research is focusing on sharing data on every trip that an autonomous vehicle takes; on developing tools that users can have to make ride-sharing easier; and to create new insurance products that are usage-based for customers who may prefer that coverage.

“I’m excited Toyota is spearheading this initiative that uses blockchain technology to create an open platform where users can control their driving data,” said Neha Narula, Director, Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, in a statement. “Our hope is that other industry stakeholders will join this effort to bring safe and reliable autonomous vehicles one step closer to reality.”

TRI isn’t just working with MIT on the initiative, but also with a few choice startups and smaller companies big in the blockchain space. Berlin-based BigchainDB, a startup which raised over $3 million to develop a flexible, scalable blockchain-based ledger; is helping develop the kind of architecture Toyota will need to roll out to have growth and scale it wants. Meanwhile Oaken Innovations and Commuterz, from Dallas and Tel Aviv, respectively, are working to develop blockchain apps for car sharing, vehicle access and payments and carpooling.

Finally, Toyota is tapping the Los Angeles-based blockchain application developer, Gem to port the applications it has been developing for the healthcare insurance industry to car insurance. The company provides a ledger for distributed inputs from a number of different sources that can then be used to automate much of the insurance claim process.

With Toyota, Gem will specifically work on usage-based insurance products tied to the telematics coming off of a users’ vehicle.

TRI’s partners include: Berlin-based BigchainDB, which is building the data exchange for sharing driving and autonomous vehicle testing data; Oaken Innovations, based in Dallas and Toronto, is developing an application for P2P car sharing, vehicle access and payments with a newly created mobility token; Commuterz, a startup from Israel, is working with TRI on a P2P carpooling solution; Gem, from Los Angeles, is working with Toyota Insurance Management Solutions (TIMS) – Toyota’s joint venture telematics car insurance company – and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Services on the usage-based insurance platform.

FEATURED IMAGE: CHOMBOSAN/SHUTTERSTOCK

Source: Jonathan Shieber Techcrunch

Toyota Opens Third Autonomous Driving Research Facility

TOYOTA MOVES FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD TO Toyota-LogoAUTONOMOUS DRIVING WITH ANNOUNCEMENT OF THIRD RESEARCH FACILITY

Toyota Research Institute to fund studies at the University of Michigan

Toyota is to open a third Toyota Research Institute facility in the USA, which will fund studies into artificial intelligence, materials science and robotics. It will be located in Ann Arbor, close to the University of Michigan campus.

The new centre, known as TRI-ANN, is due to open in June this year and is set to build a 50-strong team. 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.

Dr Gill Pratt, TRI Chief Executive, speaking at the GPU Technology Conference in San Jose yesterday (7 April) explained the decision to locate at Ann Arbor reflected the links Toyota has with the community and the benefits to be gained from close proximity to the university and facilities such as the Toyota-sponsored Mobility Transformation Center.

Toyota also has two well-established technical centres nearby, which have been researching the concept of autonomous vehicles for more than a decade. A group of about 15 team members will transfer to the new TRI-ANN facility when it opens, together with University of Michigan professors Ryan Eustice and Edwin Olson, who will be area leads respectively for mapping/localisation and perception.

Professor Olson commented: “Sensor hardware and algorithms are improving at a tremendous pace. TRI researchers will push the frontier even further, resulting in safer vehicles and more helpful robots in the home.”

Professor Eustice added: “Ann Arbor is a fantastic location for TRI to expand its autonomous driving efforts. We will benefit from Toyota’s existing team and the University of Michigan’s research talent and facilities where we can perform extreme-limit testing in a wide variety of environments.”

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.

The Toyota Research Institute is an enterprise designed to bridge the gap between fundamental research and product development.  With initial funding of $1 billion, it has four initial mandates.

The first is to strive to enhance automobile safety with the ultimate goal of creating a car that is incapable of causing a crash, regardless of the skill or condition of the driver.

The second is to work to increase access to vehicles for those who otherwise could not drive, including older people and those with special needs.

The third is to help translate Toyota’s expertise in creating products for outdoor mobility into products for indoor mobility.

Finally, TRI will accelerate scientific discovery by applying techniques from artificial intelligence and machine leaning, particularly in the sphere of materials science. This will also help reduce costs and improve the performance of future mobility systems.

Beyond these, TRI is engaging in multiple projects with the three universities and is also pursuing collaboration with other car makers, 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.”

Source: Toyota