January 26, 2021

TRI Stanford Car 400x275The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has chosen 13 additional academic institutions to participate in the next five-year phase of its collaborative research program. The goal of the program will expand the body of research into artificial intelligence with the goal of amplifying the human experience. 

TRI has committed more than $75 million into investing in the academic institutions, and the new universities join existing program participants that include MIT, Stanford, and the University of Michigan. One example of such a program is how researchers from TRI are working with Stanford’s Dynamic Design Lab to study vehicle automation with AI algorithms to help drivers react as if they were a professional race car driver (see photo).

“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, the TRI chief science officer, who leads the university 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.”

A total of 16 universities completed the comprehensive proposal submission and review process, and will now participate in the next phase, TRI said. These include:

  1. Carnegie Mellon University
  2. Columbia University
  3. Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering
  4. Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)
  5. Indiana University
  6. Massachusetts Institute Technology (MIT)
  7. Princeton University
  8. Smith College
  9. Stanford University
  10. Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago (TTIC)
  11. University of California, Berkeley
  12. University of Illinois
  13. University of Michigan
  14. University of Minnesota
  15. University of Pennsylvania
  16. UCLA

 

TRI said the program will lead 35 joint research projects that focus on achieving breakthroughs in areas such as automated driving, robotics, and machine-assisted cognition (MAC).

The company’s first phase, which was conducted over the last five years, sponsored 98 projects involving about 100 faculty members and more than 200 students, TRI said. Projects included transfer learning in computer vision, self-supervised learning on contact-rich tasks, and techniques for mimicking human behavior in various driving interactions.

TRI is also offering Young Faculty Researcher (YFR) projects to form partnerships with more junior (typically pre-tenure) faculty members. These 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,” the institute said.

Established in 2015, the TRI aims to develop active vehicle safety and automated driving technologies, robotics, and other human amplification technology. The group is based in the U.S., with offices in California, Massachusetts and Michigan. More details on the institute are available here.