Toyota is collaborating with Preferred Networks (PFN) on Human Support Robots.
The multinational manufacturer is joining forces with the Japanese startup to work together on developing useful service robots through Toyota's Human Support Robot (HSR) robotics platform, which was founded in 2012.
Toyota will first loan several dozen HSRs to PFN and the two companies will then collaborate in research and development.
Both will then be free to use the results of their research as they see fit.
Nobuhiko Koga, Chief Officer of Toyota's Frontier Research Centre, commented: "Since around 2004, Toyota has engaged in the development of partner robots that support both people with disabilities and the elderly, based on the concept of 'coexisting with humans and assisting them in their daily lives.' In 2012, we developed the HSR, which has a basic robotics platform for supporting independent living. Up to now, HSR has been used in research and development at 49 organisations in 13 countries including Japan, and has been highly praised as a robotics platform. Going forward toward our goal to develop service robots that better cater to the needs of our customers, we are excited by the prospect of collaborating in research and development with PFN, which boasts world-class intelligence technologies."
Toru Nishikawa, President & CEO of PFN, said: "Since our establishment in 2014, at PFN we have used deep-learning to develop intelligent hardware for automobiles and industrial robots. At CEATEC Japan 2018, we demonstrated a robot capable of cleaning a room in a fully automated manner; we applied deep-learning technologies to create an HSR that could pick up and put down undefined objects, draw up its own operation plans, and respond to human instructions. HSR is an outstanding robotic platform. By engaging in joint research and development with Toyota, who created the HSR, we hope to accelerate development of the functions necessary for robots to work in human living environments. Our goal is to realise the practical implementation of service robots for the first time in the world."