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Toyota's A.i. Research Efforts Could Mean Cars That Anticipate Traffic, Pedestrian Moves

By Computerworld

November 11, 2015

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Toyota is making high-profile investments in artificial intelligence (AI) research and development that could yield many benefits in human-machine interaction.

In a recently announced partnership with Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Toyota will give each institution $25 million over five years to set up AI research centers. Stanford AI lab executive director Steve Eglash says these efforts could lead to cars that function more safely on city streets and in inclement weather, as well as robotic assistants for the elderly and infirmed. He says Toyota contributes not only financial support, but also "a unique perspective on the future of the AI industry and robotics."

Data is another important ingredient Toyota brings, which Eglash says can be applied toward making more contextual and human-centered AI. With the car industry having already introduced self-parking autos and other driving-assistive innovations, Eglash thinks in a few years cars will be able to predict traffic and road conditions minutes before the vehicle arrives.

He also expects the research to lead to cars that can anticipate cyclists and pedestrians' actions and take precautionary measures. Carnegie Mellon University professor Manuela Veloso sees such initiatives as the beginning of "the reality of AI in the physical world."

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