While Toyota is an automotive company first, it isn’t the only area of expertise it has. Toyota has also dabbled in robotics and many other fields for years, and now Toyota has begun a joint research campaign alongside Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) to bring the use of lifestyle support robots to the forefront. Essentially, the two companies want to promote the use of these robots—which are artificially intelligent partner robots designed to coexist harmoniously with humans and help them with ordinary tasks—in order to simplify daily life.
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While hearing the word “robotics” seems like a science-fiction future, robots have already been around for years. Industrial robots have been assisting in workplaces like factories for years, helping to build products and take on other menial tasks so that humans don’t have to. This same idea has begun to transfer into ordinary life, the most obvious example being the robotic vacuum cleaner craze. You might not think “robot” when you look at a Roomba, but it certainly is one.
Toyota & NTT Goals
The two companies are looking to share their research and technologies so that they can integrate their knowledge into building and linking a variety of different robots and devices. Their goal is to create technologies that are able to anticipate human activity and provide support for those activities.
NTT will be providing different technologies that it has already perfected, like voice recognition, dialogue control, synthetic voice technologies and more. Toyota will then provide its existing human support robot knowledge and technology, which is already capable of picking up objects, retrieving out-of-reach objects and communicating with people.
We’ll see the fruits of this partnership over the next couple of years and hope that, perhaps, we’ll see more Roomba-like robotic assistants coming to homes in the near future!