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Biotechnology

Toyota partners with US university on artificial intelligence

NEW YORK -- Toyota Motor will put $22 million into joint artificial intelligence research with the University of Michigan over the next four years, the Japanese automaker said Wednesday, continuing a string of partnerships with U.S. academia.

The Toyota Research Institute will provide the investment for the collaboration with the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based university, having established a presence there in June. Toyota's U.S.-based research center has also employed two robotics professors from the school to work on automated driving. The institutions will team to develop helper robots and other technologies as well.

The University of Michigan is well-known for its mechanical engineering program, and sits near the headquarters of the Big Three U.S. automakers. In recent years, the school has pursued research into newer technologies such as self-driving vehicles and wireless communication between cars. The university opened a 130,000-sq.-meter testing facility for autonomous vehicles in 2015, and is now pursuing closer ties with companies involved in this field.

Toyota last year invested in AI research partnerships with California's Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, pouring $25 million into each. Such extensive cooperation with academia is unusual for a non-American automaker, underscoring the country's importance to the Japanese company as a base for autonomous-driving research.

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