Inside Toyota’s quest to future-proof itself for the auto industry’s ‘life-or-death battle’

But one of the clearest glimpses of the future came in Tokyo at the temporary offices of a new company started with a $2.8 billion investment from Toyota. It’s dubbed TRI-AD, or Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development, and as at the Plano-based Toyota Connected, working there is supposed to be different from working for the automaker.

The company has been charged with turbo-boosting Toyota’s autonomous vehicle research and development. Its recently hired head, James Kuffner, who came from the TRI office in Silicon Valley, has taught at Carnegie Mellon University and worked at Google from 2009 to 2016.