$8 Million Toyota Research Institute Call for Proposals

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Toyota Research Institute Call for Proposals

Call for proposals sent on behalf of the U-M Business Engagement Center 


Submit Proposal to TRI2017Proposals@umich.edu by
Sunday, October 15, 2017
at 11:59 p.m.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) invites proposals from the University of Michigan (“U-M”) in the areas of machine intelligence applied to robotics, self-driving cars, and automotive safety. As part of the $22M partnership with U-M announced in 2016, TRI plans to award up to $8 million for new research projects starting on January 1, 2018, in areas of interest to TRI. Newly funded projects will have durations ranging from one year to up to three years. In order to avoid proposing overlapping projects, U-M proposers are strongly encouraged to review active TRI-funded projects at:

Proposal Process:

Proposers should submit proposals, no more than two (2) pages in length, by October 15, 2017, by 11:59 p.m. to TRI2017Proposals@umich.edu using the following file naming convention: PI first name_PI last name_date (e.g., Jane_Smith_092117).

Please work with your research administrator to complete a proposal approval form (PAF) in accordance with your unit’s established deadlines. Additionally, please follow the additional PAF Submission Instructions. (This is a Google doc, so when viewing, be sure to login to Google just using your "umich.edu" address. If you have a prefix such as "med." be sure to drop that.)

Proposers may be asked for additional information by TRI. 

Proposal Content:
Proposals should state the goals of the proposed project, timelines, milestones, benchmarking metrics for measuring progress, and proposed duration and total project cost. The proposals should state which topic area (see TRI Focus Areas below) is addressed by the proposed project.

Project Reviews:
Representatives from TRI expect to visit the campus several times each year to be briefed on the status of ongoing projects. In addition, there will be on-campus annual reviews of sponsored work at U-M that will be attended by members of TRI senior staff. Finally, there will be yearly off-campus reviews where selected topics from TRI sponsored projects at various universities will be presented in a common forum broadly attended by TRI and participating university staff.

TRI Focus Areas:

TRI invites proposals in three broad topic areas; 
Enhanced Driving Safety (Guardian)
TRI seeks to create cars that can never cause an accident. On the path to that goal, TRI will foster technology that enhances the safety of human driven vehicles. Such vehicles will include systems that warn drivers of unsafe conditions, and when necessary, take control of the car to avert a crash. A key aspect of these systems is that they do no harm and only result in safer outcomes. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:
  • Object detection 
  • Sensor fusion
  • Path planning
  • Localization and mapping
  • Sensor development 
  • Machine learning algorithms for situational awareness and driver state monitoring
  • Determining a driver’s focus of attention
  • Determining whether a driver is alert
  • Determining if a driver is distracted
  • When and how to alert a driver to an unsafe condition
  • When and how to take control of a vehicle 
  • When and how to return control to a driver
Self-Driving Cars (Chauffeur)
Self-driving cars are defined as cars that can drive a given route without any human intervention. The route may be limited to specific roads or may include all roads. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:
  • Object detection
  • Sensor fusion
  • Path Planning
  • Localization and Mapping
  • Machine learning algorithms for autonomous driving
  • Methods for beginning and ending the self-driving mode
This broad topic focuses on the use of robots in the home, outdoors, and in the factory. These robots may be used to perform household chores or may generally assist people in their daily lives. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:
  • Machine learning for robotics
  • Placing and retrieving objects
  • Object recognition and tracking
  • Dexterous and compliant manipulation
  • Machine-human dialog to clarify instructions to robots
  • Learned dynamic inverse kinematics
  • Creating accurate and reliable robot behavior using inexpensive components
  • Collision avoidance, mobility, and navigation through everyday environments

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Innovation - Extent that concept is ambitious, novel, transformational, and interdisciplinary
  • Impact - Significant potential for future impact in the areas of interest to TRI
  • Approach - Likelihood of success of the proposed work plan and the proposed team, and possible engagement with TRI

Proposal Process and Timeline:

  • August 28 - October 15, 2017:  Proposal submission period.
  • November 30, 2017:  Funding decisions by joint TRI U-M Steering Committee.
  • December 2017:  Announce awards.
  • January 2018:   Start projects.

For questions please email TRI2017RFPQuestions@umich.edu or contact Umesh Patel, Sr. Director, Business Engagement, ucpatel@umich.edu, 734-647-6097.
Copyright © 2017 University of Michigan, All rights reserved.

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