Toyota to Partner with Open Source Robotics Foundation on Robotics and Automated Vehicle Research

20 September 2016
  • Toyota Research Institute (TRI) signs two-year agreement with new Open Source Robotics Foundation to make use of its software platforms and engineering expertise
  • Partnership reflects Toyota’s evolution as a broad-based mobility technology business
  • TRI makes $1 million charitable donation to support the foundation’s open source mission

The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has announced that it is to join forces with the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF), and its new for-profit subsidiary the Open Source Robotics Corporation (OSRC). The intention is to expand development of both open source and proprietary tools for Toyota’s fast-growing robotics and automated vehicle research programmes.

This move to significantly expand TRI’s research and engineering capabilities reflects Toyota’s evolution beyond the conventional automotive industry to become a broad-based mobility technology company.

TRI is also awarding the OSRF a $1 million charitable contribution in support of its mission to advance the development and adoption of open source robotics software.

Dr Gill Pratt, TRI CEO, said: “At Toyota we are creating better ways to move, whether it’s across the room, across town, or across the country. The Open Source Robotics Corporation team brings unparalleled technical expertise and industry-leading technology platforms, which we intend to embed in the heart of our research programmes.

“TRI also believes that the open source movement can catalyse the development of the robotics industry and we are excited to help OSRF expand its impact.”

OSRF is an independent, non-profit organisation founded to support the development, distribution and adoption of open source software for use in robotics research and education. The group oversees the development of the Robot Operating System (ROS), a flexible framework for writing robot software, and Gazebo, a 3D multi-robot simulator.

Brian Gerkey, OSRF CEO, commented: “As the nine-year anniversary of the ROS approaches, it’s humbling and extremely gratifying to see increased commercial uptake among business innovators such as TRI. We’re looking forward to further advancing ROS and Gazebo and to share those developments with the worldwide open source robotics community.”

As part of the two-year agreement, TRI will leverage the expertise of OSRC’s engineering team, engaging them in a variety of initiatives. The deal also builds on Toyota’s overall commitment to move beyond the confines of traditional corporate research and development.


Note to editors

The Toyota Research Institute is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor North America, operating under the direction of Dr Gill Pratt. The company, established in 2015, aims to strengthen Toyota’s research structure and has four initial mandates: to enhance the safety of automobiles; to increase access to cars for those who otherwise cannot drive; to translate Toyota’s expertise in creating products for outdoor mobility into products for indoor mobility; and to accelerate scientific discovery by applying techniques from artificial intelligence and machine learning. TRI, based in the USA, plans to employ approximately 250 employees. It has offices in Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, California (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

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Toyota to Partner with Open Source Robotics Foundation on Robotics and Automated Vehicle Research


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