Toyota's new R&D company hires technical team

Visitors walk under a logo of Toyota Motor Corp at the company's showroom in Tokyo February 4, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

(Reuters) - Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp’s research and development company, Toyota Research Institute (TRI), said it hired a team of scientists and engineers to help drive research into artificial intelligence and robots.

The world’s top-selling automaker announced plans in November to set up TRI with a focus on developing artificial intelligence technologies such as self-driving cars.

TRI also named John Roos, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, as chairman of an advisory board that will guide its work.

Rodney Brooks, founder of robot maker iRobot Corp and former director of the MIT computer science and AI lab, was named deputy chairman of the board, TRI said at the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show.

Eric Krotkov, former U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program manager, was appointed chief operating officer.

TRI, which also appointed other senior scientists and engineers, has said it plans to hire about 200 staff.

The firm said on Tuesday its two facilities, located in Palo Alto, California and Cambridge, Massachusetts will officially open this month.

Toyota, which plans to invest $1 billion in research and development over the next five years, has identified and funded almost 30 initial research projects and project teams, TRI said.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru