Toyota pours billions into ‘partner robot’ field

TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp. is harboring big ambitions to become a significant player in the growing market for robots that help the elderly and other people get around in everyday life. The company believes it can use its manufacturing expertise to become as crucial in a field it calls “partner robots” as it is to auto-making. Robotics engineers at Toyota number only 150 out of a worldwide staff of 300,000, but it is plowing money into research and development. Toyota last month announced a $1 billion investment in a research company headed by robotics expert Gill Pratt in Silicon Valley to develop artificial intelligence and robotics. It is already working with Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on robotics. “We are preparing for a future in which…


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