Toyota turns to artificial intelligence to build a better car battery

REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

DETROIT (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp will use artificial intelligence in new research to speed up the discovery of advanced battery materials and fuel-cell catalysts to power electric and other emission-free vehicles, the company said on Thursday.

Toyota will invest around $35 million in its North American research arm, the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) and will involve collaboration with a number of US academic institutions including the University of Michigan and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and British material sciences company Ilika.

Automakers have been investing heavily in developing new batteries and fuel cells to increase the range of electric vehicles. China in particular is banking on the heavy use of electric vehicles in the future.

Brian Storey, the lead TRI researcher for the new program, said artificial intelligence will be used to identify new possible materials for batteries and fuel and run computer tests to narrow down the field for simulation tests by researchers.

Storey said the research will pursue a replacement for platinum as a fuel-cell catalyst.

“We don’t have a ton of platinum on this planet and it costs a lot money,” he said. “Platinum is a great catalyst, but is there another compound out there that uses little platinum or no platinum at all?”

(By Nick Carey; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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