Toyota hires entire Jaybridge Robotics team to boost autonomous-car development

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 22, 2016

Having self-driving cars or autonomous cars can both be an advantage and disadvantage in our now fast growing technological world. One benefit would be non-driving humans or those who just weren’t born to have a talent in driving can now get their own rides without having to handle the steering wheel.

A downside is that it might compromise safety. For Japanese automaker Toyota, the primary concern with autonomous cars is that humans and cars are meant to interact with each other and that humans should have primary control over the vehicle especially during unanticipated situations.

But recently, there seemed to be a change of heart by the Japanese automaker as it has brought to its circle of geniuses sixteen individuals from the field of artificial intelligence. Welcome to Toyota, Jaybridge Robotics. Jaybridge Robotics is an artificial intelligence software firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was originally born from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology seven years ago and is specializing in creating and developing artificial intelligence software.

Now, Jaybridge Robotics’ entire team will be joining the Japanese auto giant Toyota in its quest to develop the world’s best autonomous vehicle. Toyota has incorporated the sixteen-person Jaybridge Robotics team into their Silicon Valley based research institute, a $1 billion advanced projects lab. This lab must have cool futuristic gadgets and facilities to have to cost as much as that, right? This $1 billion research institute is led by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency former program manager Gill Pratt.

It is because of the race to make the world’s best autonomous car that the facility led by Pratt will be solely tasked to develop self-driving cars. The pressure is on Gill Pratt and the rest of the Toyota robotics and artificial intelligence team. We can’t wait to see your very first self-driving car.

Aside from Toyota, other companies have also been joining the autonomous car development race. Google already has been training its staff and testing cars. Forty researchers from the robotics department of Carnegie Mellon University have also been commissioned by American multinational online transportation network company Uber to work on its autonomous car project.

Tesla Motors, on the other hand, is now continuously developing new autopilot features for its vehicles apart from making some of the world’s best luxury vehicles. Also, even the oldest and biggest names in the automotive world have joined the bandwagon in creating self-driving vehicles.

For instance, there are already development teams created by the great General Motors and Ford to go along with the growing interest in self-driving automobiles. Even electronics and software company Apple has joined the arena and has been reportedly developing an Apple car.

But judging by the degree of enthusiasm and eagerness that a lot of companies have shown for the development of autonomous or self-driving vehicles, it’s not going to be that long until the day we see these cars running past our streets. Whether it will be safe on the streets and to its passengers is what the automakers have to take care of. Surely, the developers can be trusted to keep safety in the forefront of their research, right?

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