Toyota is deepening its relationship with Nvidia as the automaker, and its research arms in Japan and the U.S., ramps up its autonomous vehicle development program.
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang announced Monday during his keynote at the 2019 GPU Technology Conference that Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development — the automaker’s Japan-based research arm — is using the chipmaker’s full end-to-end development and production to develop, train and validate its autonomous vehicle technology. The partnership builds on an ongoing collaboration with Toyota and is based on development between engineering teams from Nvidia, TRI-AD in Japan and Toyota Research Institute in the United States.
THE DETROIT AUTO Show circa 2004: Gas prices are low. Auto sales are is good. Bigger is better. The only electrics on the floor are the hybrids brought along by the Japanese automakers like Toyota and Honda. Tesla is a Silicon Valley startup with big ideas, safely ignored. Cars are machines that people buy, own, and drive themselves. Automakers are taking the wraps off their latest machines, talking up power and comfort while the metal gleams in the spotlights.
Toyota keeps on running toward hydrogen fuel cells and away from all-electric vehicles in what amounts to the most decisive strategy in the auto industry for the future of alternative power trains.
At the Los Angeles auto show, Toyota executives planned to elaborate on the company’s deepening investments in fuel-cell vehicles, after a weekend announcement that it would begin selling next year a model called “Mirai” — Japanese for “future” — that will travel 300 miles on a hydrogen tank and can be refilled in less than five minutes. The car, Toyota has said previously, will go on sale in Japan in April for about $60,000 and be introduced in the U.S. and Europe a few months later.
The company’s embrace of fuel cells reminds some observers of other significant moments of commitment for Toyota over the decades, including in 1989 when it launched the Lexus luxury brand in the United States and in 1997, when it started selling Prius gasoline-electric hybrids. Both moves redefined the American auto industry in different ways.
Toyota announced five recalls on Wednesday, affecting a total of 6.39 million vehicles globally.
The recalls cover 27 Toyota (TM) models — including Camry, Corolla, Matrix and Highlander. Two of those models were made by joint manufacturing ventures and sold under other brands: the Pontiac Vibe and the Subaru Trezia. Some of the vehicles were made as early as 2004.