Human Assistive Robot Project Of Toyota To Partner With AI Startup Preferred Networks

The plans of Japanese auto manufacturer of developing a range of useful service robots that can assist people in everyday life will get help from a firm specializing in artificial intelligence (AI)

Preferred Networks, a Japanese company founded in 2014, is being roped in by the auto maker to help it in areas such as artificial intelligence and deep learning which would be used in the service robots as planned by the company.

The research and development work for this purpose would be done on the Human Support Robot (HSR) robotics platform belonging to Toyota, the toe companies said this while announcing the collaborative partnership on Wednesday. It was back in 2012 that Toyota had created this new robotics platform – which has been in the development phase since then, and it is essentially a basic robot that has been designed such that it would be able to work alongside people in everyday life situations. Providing basic car and support assistance in nursing and long-term care applications was the primary use of the robot. According to Toyota, the robot is able to collect and retrieve items, and provide remote control and communication capabilities because it is equipped with one arm, a display, cameras and a wheeled base.

Preferred Networks and Toyota have already worked together in the car makers HSR. That project made its first public display through a robot at Japan’s CEATEC robotics conference in 2018 wherein the robot was able to clean a room fully autonomously with the help of a pre-programmed software. The abilities of that robot included its capacity to identify objects and react to specific human instructions as well as importably pick up and put down objects in a safe manner that it couldn’t define or find similarity with stored in its database.

According to reports, Preferred Networks would be provided with “several dozen” HSR units by Toyota which would form the platform for the startup to conduct its technical projects on. The companies also said that in the next three years, they would be collaborating on research and development, exchanging the outcome of their work as well as the intellectual property that would get developed as a consequence. The companies also have imposed no restrictions on how either of them could make use of the results of the joint work.

Toyota has been guided by its goal of the development of commercial home robotics arm that would have the capabilities to assist and participate in the everyday lives of people. And to achieve this end, the Japanese auto major also has a number of other projects that it is working on. Such projects include through research at its Toyota Research Institute (TRI) subsidiary which also partners with several academic institutions. The company had also recently displayed several of its robotics projects that the company wants to put to use during the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

(Adapted from TechCrunch.com)

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