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Toyota's e-Palette, unveiled at CES 2018, is a concept for a multi-functional autonomous vehicle (Photo: Toyota)

Toyota Motor, in a new venture, will step up its development efforts in the area of software for automated driving.

The Japanese automaker said its Toyota Research Institute will form a new company later this month called Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development" (TRI-AD). It will partner with suppliers Aisin Seiki and Denso to joinly develop fully-integrated, production-quality software for automated driving.

Toyota established its North America-based Toyota Research Institute (TRI) in 2016 to focus on artificial intelligence, automated driving and robotics. Software development and big data from connected vehicles are at the center of its research activities.

Toyota, Aisin and Denso plan to invest more than 300 billion yen in Tokyo-based TRI-AD. The research arm will have a staff of approximately 1,000.

"Building production-quality software is a critical success factor for Toyota's automated driving program," James Kuffner, CTO of the Toyota Research Institute, said in a statement. "This company's mission is to accelerate software development in a more effective and disruptive way."

With the establishment of the software unit, Toyota hopes to fast-track development for automated driving technologies. TRI-AD is tasked in particular with smoothly moving software from research to commerciallization and strengthen collaboration within the Toyota Group.

-By Arjen Bongard