Nominated James Kuffner on board Toyota accelerates transformation of smart mobility company

Toyota, which has always been a conservative and stable traditional car company, has begun to leap forward in the smart travel battlefield.

On March 25, Toyota announced that it had nominated James Kuffner, chief executive of its research and development company (TRI-AD), to the board of directors. The nomination is currently awaiting approval by the shareholders' meeting in June. Kuffner will also be appointed Toyota Motor Operations Officer.

Kuffner joined Toyota's newly established artificial intelligence research laboratory in January 2016 to develop artificial intelligence technologies. He was previously the co-founder of Google's robotics department and was responsible for the development of autonomous vehicles. Kuffner's nomination for the board of directors means that Toyota's work center will transition from traditional car manufacturing to the next generation of mobility services.

In March 2018, Toyota joined forces with Aisin Seiki and Denso to invest $ 2.8 billion in the establishment of the Toyota Research Institute Advanced Research and Development Corporation (TRI-AD) to accelerate the development of autonomous driving software. Kufner was also named CEO of the new company. He described the mission of developing self-driving cars for Toyota as the "lunar plan" for this generation.

Just one day before Toyota officials nominated Kuffner to join the board, Reuters reported that a person familiar with the matter said that Toyota Motor and the Japan Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) had agreed to jointly develop a smart city and would invest 200 billion yen in each other. (US $ 1.8 billion). In the future, the two companies will jointly develop a data platform that collects and analyzes information from households, vehicles, and public institutions. This information will be used to create new services with a focus on transportation, health, and energy use. .

Toyota is gradually speeding up its smart travel layout.

In fact, as early as 2018 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Toyota stated that it will transform from a car company to a mobile company, and its competitors will also become technology giants such as Google, Apple and Facebook.

Today, Toyota is completing its strategic ambitions by "coordinated vertical and horizontal". Investments in autonomous driving, artificial intelligence, big data, car sharing, etc. are increasing day by day. In July 2019, Toyota said it would invest $ 600 million in Didi. Previously, globally, Toyota had made capital investments in travel giants such as Uber and Grab, and also joined Monet, a mobile travel company launched by SoftBank.