Toyota boosts autonomous team with Jaybridge Robotics

Gill Pratt (left) and Toyota's President Akio Toyoda at the launch announcement of TRI in 2015. Pratt heads up the Toyota Research Insitute (TRI), with the stated goal of developing vehicles that are incapable of crashing.

By Mike Davey

Cambridge, Massachusetts — March 10, 2016 — Toyota has just increased its autonomous vehicle development by hiring the entire 16-member Jaybridge Robotics team. The staff from Jaybridge Robotics will work under the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), headed up by Gill Pratt.

“TRI’s mission is to bridge the gap between research and product development in many areas, including artificial intelligence, robotics and autonomous passenger vehicles,” says Pratt. “The 16-member Jaybridge team brings decades of experience developing, testing, and supporting autonomous vehicle products which perfectly complements the world-class research team at TRI.”

Pratt is a roboticist and a former official at the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). TRI was founded in November 2015 and was designed to bridge the gap between fundamental research and product development. According to official statements from Toyota, TRI’s ultimate goal is “creating a car that is incapable of causing a crash.”

There’s serious money behind TRI, with an initial five-year investment of $1 billion. The research facility became fully operational in January.

Previously, Jaybridge Robotics had specialized in automated vehicle solutions, but not for passenger cars. The company’s emphasis was on heavy equipment applications.

“Where Jaybridge has historically limited its focus to industrial applications such as agriculture and mining, TRI is going after the big one: helping to reduce the nearly 1.25 million traffic fatalities each year, worldwide. We couldn’t be more excited,” says Jeremy Brown, CEO of Jaybridge Robotics.

TRI’s main facility is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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