University-Industry Engagement Week

Toyota Research Institute expands collaborative university research program with $75M over five years

By David Schwartz
Published: February 2nd, 2021

The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has added 13 academic institutions to participate in the next five-year phase of its collaborative research program. These universities join MIT, Stanford and the University of Michigan which have worked with TRI over the last five years on artificial intelligence research.

Over the coming five years, TRI will invest more than $75 million in university partnerships, making it one of the largest collaborative research programs by an automotive company in the world.

Additional schools selected for the program include Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Florida A&M, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Princeton, Smith College, UC Berkeley, Illinois, Minnesota, Penn, and UCLA.

“Our first five year program pushed the boundaries of exploratory research across multiple fields, generating 69 patent applications and nearly 650 papers,” said Eric Krotkov, TRI’s chief science officer who leads the university research program. “Our next five years are about pushing even further and doing so with a broader, more diverse set of stakeholders. To get to the best ideas, collaboration is critical. Our aim is to build a pipeline of new ideas from different perspectives and underrepresented voices that share our vision of using AI for human amplification and societal good.”   

More specifically, TRI will lead 35 joint research projects focused on achieving breakthroughs in TRI’s research areas: automated driving, robotics, and machine-assisted cognition (MAC). Each project features a TRI researcher as a co-investigator who will work with the university partner.

TRI is also offering Young Faculty Researcher (YFR) projects to form partnerships with more junior (typically pre-tenure) faculty members. Whereas joint projects have TRI pursuing a specific direction and reaching technical milestones along the way, the YFR projects are specifically designed to support promising tenure stream faculty members, enabling them to explore broadly, inquire deeply, and address higher-risk, higher-payoff ideas.

Source: Toyota

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week