Car maker invests $2.8 billion into autonomous vehicle software.
In the ongoing race to put self-driving cars on the roads, a number of automakers have invested heavily in new technology, teams of innovators, and factory lines that will create these new vehicles. Now, one of the major automakers in the autonomous vehicle space announced a nearly three billion dollar budget for merely the software that will run its vehicles.
Toyota, who’s been working for some time develop a consumer-friendly line of autonomous vehicles, says the $2.8 billion investment is vital to keeping up with the changing technology behind self-driving cars.
Software is key
According to a report by John Lippert for Bloomberg Technology, “The company needs faster and more reliable methods for writing software because self-driving cars require ‘millions and millions’ of lines of computer code, according to James Kuffner, who’ll lead the new effort. That compares with tens of thousands of lines of code in cars just a generation ago…Kuffner said he plans to hire 1,000 programmers as soon as he can find them and is seeking to lure global talent.”
Toyota is currently working against not only other automakers in this space, but also tech giants like Google and Apple. By controlling their own software rather than relying on collaboration with a software developer who may also sell its product to other automakers, the company can retain better control over the end-to-end manufacture of its autonomous vehicles. One of the obstacles Toyota plans to overcome with its new software project will be to build out the software in working sections, rather than attempting to write the entire code and wait until the end result to see how it fares.
Tech v Law
Unfortunately, the entire autonomous vehicle space has been plagued with setbacks, from crashes that need meticulous investigation to bills that have been stalled by lawmakers. Ideally, these issues will be resolved in a correlative time to the development of the technology behind the vehicles.