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News Roundup: Toyota Spending Millions on Driverless Research at UMich, Tesla Fatality Could Actually Speed Up Self-Driving Progress, and More

Jennifer van der Kleut

Toyota to spend millions on AI, robotics and driverless car research at University of Michigan

Just months after Toyota spent $1 billion to create the Toyota Research Institite (TRI) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the company announced it is spending another $22 million to work with neighboring University of Michigan on research into artificial intelligence, robotics, and self-driving cars. Specifically, the announcement indicates the money will be spent over a period of four years and will focus on the areas of enhanced driving safety, partner robotics and indoor mobility, autonomous driving and student learning and diversity, as well as mobility solutions for the disabled and elderly. Read more about the announcement from The Detroit News.

How the recent Tesla Autopilot fatality could actually speed up autonomous car development

The news was tragic when, in June, a man was killed when his car ran into a white tractor-trailer that his Tesla Autopilot system failed to differentiate from the reflection of the bright white sky on his windshield. In fact, Tesla had three highly-publicized crashes involving its Autopilot system in just two months this year. However, some industry analysts now believe those crashes, and that one tragic fatality, may actually speed up progress toward the development and launch of autonomous vehicles. Representatives from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) say what engineers can learn from such accidents can help improve the technology’s efficiency exponentially–and the desire to do so will be led by the still-great need to help millions of people around the world who have trouble getting around. Read more about industry analysts’ predictions on such matters in The Conversation.

Honda partners with Indian company L&T Technologies on IoT, autonomous drive products

Larson & Turbo Technologies (L&T) announced this week it is partnering with Honda and “betting big” on IoT, electric-powered and autonomous drive technologies. L&T has invested billions setting up several new labs focusing on the research and development of such technology. In particular, its new lab in Dublin, Ohio could help significantly boost their autonomous vehicle work. Read more from the Dublin Villager and Economic Times.