Toyota is definitely aiming for the stars as just in one year the Japanese Car-making giant wants to start off with selling a self driving vehicle, the company terms is as the “most powerful supercomputer on wheels.”
But obviously there is still a lot of work to be done on it yet, there is a need for the development of hardware and software for the vehicle, hasten the hiring of competent engineers that will make it all happen and has to cut back the cost of technology immensely!
James Kuffner, the CEO of Toyota Research Institute Advanced Development Inc, is a real challenge facer! In March, his Tokyo Company was set up to fill in the gap between the company’s showroom floor and research.
The first milestone for the company is set in 2020 when Toyota is anticipated to introduce self-driving vehicles. According to Kuffner, they would be rolling supercomputers.
At TRI-AD’s temporary office near Tokyo station, Kuffner stated:
“The prototypes and the preproduction vehicles that the team is building here at TRI-AD are going to be … the most intelligent supercomputer on wheels.”
He further added:
“We’ve called it the moonshot of my generation to build this technology and bring it to market.”
In order to create the software which will be responsible for running the self-driving vehicles, Toyota has teamed up with Denso and Aisin Seiki (Toyota group suppliers) to invest $2.8 billion in the fresh company.
Kuffner took the wheel after being the chief technology officer for a certain time period at Toyota Research Institute. TRI-AD has been assigned the task of making the 2020 technology a reality!
According to Kuffner:
“If you think about building a research prototype, making a demonstration is pretty easy, but making a product is really hard.”
Addressing the significance of the company regarding the upcoming technology, he added:
“Whenever we talk about our company, we often talk about being a bridge of the prototype to the product.”
Turning the idea into reality implies creating a software company from the most initial stage inside one of Japan’s highly traditional and bureaucratic automakers. And alarmingly the company is only partway there.
Currently, TRI-AD consists of about 500 employees who have been adjusted into two floors of temporary space of a high-rise of Tokyo. But it has planned to move into new digs next door this summer which will have the capacity of carrying 1000 engineers spreading across five floors. Kuffner said that it will take several years to fill those ranks while observing the word-wide ongoing fierce competition to hire the best artificial intelligence and software, engineers.
For the 2020 vehicle, there are more than one advanced prototypes for Toyota. The mobile laboratory is a modified Lexus LS sedan. As told by Kuffner, the 2020 vehicle will be a Lexus as well.
The upcoming vehicle will mark as the beginning of a new era in the automobile industry as well as in the tech world! Though there is still a long way to go for the Japanese giant but we have all positive expectations from them as their capabilities aren’t to be questioned over and the highly competent leaders are all set to hit the bull’s eye with their defined time limit. Automobile enthusiasts keep your eyes and ears on this one! It surely will be a historical advent!