I mentioned previously that Toyota is coming into the autonomous vehicle game a little bit late, even if they do have more self-driving patents than any other company.
However, they are getting into the field in a big way, with offices in Silicon Valley and Boston, and a host of heavy hitters in the lineup:
- Eric Krotkov, Former DARPA Program Manager — Chief Operating Officer
- Larry Jackel, Former Bell Labs Department Head and DARPA Program Manager — Machine Learning
- James Kuffner, CMU Professor and former head of Google Robotics — Cloud Computing
- John Leonard, Samuel C. Collins Professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering, MIT — Autonomous Driving
- Hiroshi Okajima, Project General Manager, R&D Management Division, Toyota Motor Corporation — Executive Liaison Officer
- Brian Storey, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Olin College of Engineering — Accelerating Scientific Discovery
- Russ Tedrake, Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT — Simulation and Control
In particular, I am somewhat familiar with Russ Tedrake, having taken his edX course on Underactuated Robotics. He is a fast-rising start in the robotics world, although thus far his specialty has been walking robots, not driving robots.
It looks like Toyota has a lot of leaders on the team. Now the question is whether they can stock up worker bees.
Originally published at www.davidincalifornia.com on January 9, 2016.