Toyota is Forming a New Software Company to Develop Autonomous Driving Technology
In March 2018, Japan's Toyota Motor Corporation established its Toyota Research Institute Advanced Development, Inc. (TRI-AD) as a research and development portal to accelerate development and deployment of automated vehicle technology for the automaker.
A big part of TRI-AD's mission was to help establish Toyota as a world-class software & technology company and build the safest car in the world. The automaker said That TRI-AD has made great progress so far, so Toyota is expanding its scope as a new entity.
TRI-AD announced on Tuesday that effective January 2021, it will expand its operations into a new holding company with two subsidiaries. Toyota said that TRI-AD has made great progress in its mission so far, but its ready for the next phase of its evolution.
The holding company will be called Woven Planet Holdings, Inc. The Woven Planet Holdings group will focus on a more agile "software-first" development process and Software Defined Architecture for future Toyota vehicles.
One subsidiary will be called "Woven CORE", which will develop, implement and scale autonomous driving technologies for Toyota.
The second company "Woven Alpha" will explore new business opportunities and incubate innovative projects that go beyond today's core automotive business, including Toyota's futuristic city of the future Woven City and Toyota's open Automated Mapping Platform (AMP), which is available as an API for developers building HD maps for autonomous vehicles.
Toyota's AMP allows companies to create and share high-precision maps and share data on automated-driving vehicles.
New initiatives will include the development of Toyota's latest advanced driving assist system (ADAS) called Teammate, which acts as an ever-present co-pilot for the driver for added safety. Teammate supports automated driving functions, such as keeping the vehicle in its lane, maintaining a safe distance around other vehicles, and automatic lane changing on highways.
"We will work hard with all of our stakeholders and partners to create tremendous new value, new technologies, and new products at a speed and scale that Toyota is famous for, and we will do it with software and services that will power future mobility," said James Kuffner, CEO of Toyota TRI-AD.
Kuffner was Engineering Director at Google from 2009 to 2016. He was part of the initial engineering team that built Google's first self-driving car before joining Toyota.
Woven CORE will be responsible for the development of the Toyota Group's advanced autonomous driving technologies, including developing, implementing, and scaling its automated driving technologies in the market.
Woven Alpha will explore new areas for business expansion and incubate new innovative projects such as Toyota's vision of the city of the future "Woven City" project unveiled at CES in January. Toyota's Woven City being built near Mt Fuji in Japan will serve as a living laboratory to help create an ever-better way of life centered on people and mobility for all. Woven Alpha will also support the expansion of "Arene", the automaker's open vehicle software development platform.
The Woven Planet Holdings group will be tasked with the strategic decision-making for the entire group, Toyota said. This includes expanding Toyota's collaboration with industry partners, creating new business opportunities in mobility services, as well as providing corporate shared services to the new companies.
The formation of the new companies is part of the vision of Toyota's President Akio Toyoda that the automaker would eventually become a mobility company. Toyota believes that to achieve this goal, it needs strong software and strong hardware working together teams working together, which is the ultimate goal of Woven Planet Holdings.
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