Toyota keeps on robotics course

DALLAS — Even before Ford earlier this year unveiled its vision for self-driving cars — vehicles without steering wheels or pedals by 2021 — Toyota appeared to be behind in the race to develop autonomous vehicles. But Toyota, which spends $10 billion a year on research, doesn’t seem too worried about it. Toyota is focused on developing robots. “Our approach probably is a little different,” acknowledged John Hanson, director of communications at the new Toyota Research Institute. “Autonomous cars are designed to drive you across town. Robots can help you up the stairs or into the shower. Both are about keeping people mobile.” Moreover, much of the artificial intelligence and hardware needed for self-driving cars can also be applied to robots. “It is entirely possible that robots will become for…

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