Toyota Commits $22 Million to University of Michigan for AI Research

The University of Michigan has announced a $22 million commitment from the Toyota Research Institute in support of research focused on artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, and autonomous vehicles.

The funding will support collaborations between TRI and U-M faculty in the areas of enhanced driving safety, partner robotics and indoor mobility, autonomous driving, and student learning and diversity. News of the four-year investment follows the recent establishment of a new TRI research facility in Ann Arbor — joining its existing facilities in Palo Alto, near Stanford University, and Cambridge, near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — and the hiring of U-M robotics professors Ryan Eustice and Edwin Olson to work on autonomous vehicle research.

The partnership builds on an existing collaboration between the Toyota Technical Center and the university focused on connected vehicles and safety research. Toyota also is a founding partner of U-M's Mobility Transformation Center, which operates Mcity, a 32-acre mini-city on campus that allows researchers to test emerging vehicle technologies. In addition, Toyota's Collaborative Safety Research Center sponsors research at the U-M Transportation Research Institute, which is focused on advanced safety technologies.

"Our labs at U-M push the envelope of what robots can sense and understand about the world, and TRI provides an opportunity to apply these discoveries into real-world products," said Eustice.

"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,” said TRI chief executive Gill Pratt. "We will also focus on expanding the benefit of mobility technology to in-home support of older persons and those with special needs."