Sunday, December 18, 2016

Another MPG Challenge

What is the TRI (Toyota Research Institute) anyway?
Toyota Research Institute is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor North America under the direction of Dr. Gill Pratt. The company, established in 2015, aims to strengthen Toyota's research structure and has four initial mandates: 1) enhance the safety of automobiles, 2) increase access to cars to those who otherwise cannot drive, 3) translate Toyota's expertise in creating products for outdoor mobility into products for indoor mobility, and 4) accelerate scientific discovery by applying techniques from artificial intelligence and machine learning. TRI plans to employ approximately 250 employees and is based in the United States, with offices in Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, CA (TRI-PAL), in Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts (TRI-CAM), and in Ann Arbor, Michigan, near the University of Michigan campus (TRI-ANN). For more information about TRI, please visit
Ok. And what is the Prius Challenge?
The Prius Challenge is an exclusive, team-focused, data and driving competition with the ultimate objective of maximizing performance efficiency. Teams will use real-time vehicle data to create robust strategies via a proprietary coaching app developed specifically for this event. 

Attendees will interact with industry leaders in the fields of mobility, robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
So, is it unfair for me to call this an "MPG Challenge", sort of. It's not entirely unfair. Aside from an event description that seems to staggered out of a Faraday Future press release it's hard to tell exactly what's going on here. There's a driving component and some kind of automation component apparently to help the driver drive more efficiently. Which, when you think about it, is cool. It's basically crowd sourcing tech development in the form of a contest. On second thought, I'm not entirely cool it's cool. Maybe it's a cheap way to get some new ideas?

I have contacted TRI and asked to be involved in covering the event. I hope to do so and if so, you'll hear all about here and on What Drives Us.