Toyota's HSR (Human Support Robot) delivers a basket to a woman in a wheelchair. Photo: REUTERS file
tech

Toyota turns to AI startup to accelerate goal of robots for the home

5 Comments
By Kevin Buckland

Toyota Motor Corp has designs on making robot helpers for your home, and has enlisted a Japanese startup that specializes in artificial intelligence to jump-start its plan.

Japan's biggest automaker and Tokyo-based Preferred Networks Inc will carry out joint research to develop so-called service robots that are "capable of learning in typical living environments", the companies said.

The two firms have already been collaborating on driverless vehicles since 2014.

Eighty-year-old manufacturing giant Toyota is trying to transform itself and adapt to technology, such as ride-hailing and automated driving, that is disrupting the auto industry.

Toyota sees robots as part of that effort, particularly in Japan, where it aims to have them in homes and hospitals to support one of the world's fastest aging populations.

For the project announced, Toyota said it would provide a dozen units of its Human Support Robot, or HSR, to Preferred Networks.

The companies will cooperate on development over the next three years, including the sharing of intellectual property.

Preferred Networks is already using the robot as a platform for its advanced artificial intelligence software. At an exhibition in Tokyo last year the robot tidied a messy room, distinguishing between trash and dirty towels.

Toyota has been working on service robots since 2004, and has a number of models under development. But HSR is the one it sees as closest to being ready for commercial applications.

Basically a single arm on a wheeled base with a sensor-filled head on top, the robot will also be used at next year's summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, to help with simple tasks such as fetching drinks for some spectators.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

5 Comments
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At least one Japanese venture company is doing things right. Good luck Preferred Networks!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Caregivers are working on slave wages yet there is money to throw at developing machines to take care of the old.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good,

Older people going to need all the help they can get.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nicely done, Toyota!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Keep on innovating and making life better.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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