Toyota Can Be a Tech Giant Too

Toyotas have a reputation for being reliable but unexciting, and the Japanese automotive giant that makes them can come across the same way. Yet it is likely more forward-thinking than it gets credit for…

In a break with tradition, the company gave the keynote speech in the presentation of its annual results to chief digital officer James Kuffner rather than Chief Executive Akio Toyoda. Toyota hired Mr. Kuffner—an American robot engineer with an academic background at Stanford, the University of Tokyo and Carnegie Mellon—in 2016 from Alphabet’s pioneering self-driving car project.

Mr. Kuffner gave a high-level account of Toyota’s wide-ranging approach to reducing its products’ carbon emissions. The company’s strategy is sometimes seen as lagging behind because it doesn’t revolve entirely around the all-electric vehicles popularized by Tesla.