Toyota invests $1B in US on artificial intelligence

Toyota invests $1B in US on artificial intelligence
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Toyota is investing a billion dollars in two U.S. facilities to develop artificial intelligence that could be used in self-driving cars, The Associated Press reported on Friday.

The first facility, located in Silicon Valley, will open next year, and a second will follow near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The money will be spent over the course of five years, according to the AP.

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The company reportedly views its investment as going beyond autonomous vehicles, a growing business, and into other areas of robotics and artificial intelligence. It previously announced a $50 million investment in research at Stanford and MIT.

Toyota joins several competitors in the auto industry — including General Motors and Ford — as well as tech giants like Google and Uber in developing self-driving car technology.

Their efforts have raised regulatory questions about how to deal with autonomous vehicles being tested on public roads.

Google faced pressure earlier this year from activists who said that the company should disclose more information about accidents involving its self-driving cars. They ultimately chose to do so, and now publish a monthly report with details about accidents involving the vehicles — which are tested in California and Austin, Texas.

Another company, Delphi, is also testing self-driving cars on roads in California.

Uber, the ride-hailing service that has grown to a $51 billion valuation in the last five years, has invested in a facility in Pittsburgh to develop its own autonomous vehicles. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick suggested earlier this year that the company was working on self-driving cars in part because of the groundswell of support for the idea among other major companies.

“Look, Google is doing the driverless thing, Tesla is doing the driverless thing, Apple is doing the driverless thing," he said.