TOKYO (AP) – Toyota and Sony, two of Japan’s biggest technology names, are getting together in robotics, both sides said Monday, to develop an innovative, intelligent, single-seat vehicle.
But don’t expect Toyota Motor Corp. to resurrect Sony’s now defunct Aibo dog robot – as some devoted robot fans may be hoping.
Sony Corp.’s technology for Aibo and the childlike Qrio is still being kept in-house at the Japanese electronics and entertainment company, said Sony spokesman Tomio Takizawa.
The technology sale, including key patents, from Sony to Toyota completed earlier this year applies to the next-generation ”transporter,” both sides said. Details of the financial deal are not being disclosed.
Seven Sony researchers are temporarily working in Toyota’s partner robot research unit to help relay the technology to Toyota, Toyota spokeswoman Kayo Doi said.
Toyota has shown a futuristic-looking single-seat vehicle called i-swing at various events. The automaker, on track to beat General Motors Corp. as the world’s biggest as soon as this year, has also shown humanoids that can walk and play a trumpet.
Also Monday, Toyota is introducing as a guide at its showroom at headquarters TPR-Robina, a womanlike robot-on-wheels it has developed.
The robot can dodge obstacles, sign its name, carry on simple conversations in Japanese and deliver preprogrammed information in an electronic voice, according to the manufacturer of Camry, Lexus and Corolla cars.
Sony’s decided to kill its Aibo business last year as part of a major restructuring program at a time it had been losing money in its core electronics operations.
The decision disappointed many robot fans. Although Sony sold just 150,000 of the toy poodle-sized machines since they were first introduced in 1999, some owners were emotionally attached to their mechanical pets.
These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems
They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.
Surgeons have successfully tested a pig’s kidney in a human patient
The test, in a brain-dead patient, was very short but represents a milestone in the long quest to use animal organs in human transplants.
A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click
Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.
The covid tech that is intimately tied to China’s surveillance state
Heat-sensing cameras and face recognition systems may help fight covid-19—but they also make us complicit in the high-tech oppression of Uyghurs.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.