Toyota Research Institute Brings Prius Challenge to Silicon Valley Community

Toyota Research Institute Brings Prius Challenge to Silicon Valley Community

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Third annual Onramp event combines the technical challenges of data analysis, machine learning and simulation with the fun of competing at a major racetrack

Palo Alto, Calif., Dec. 16, 2016 — Toyota Research Institute (TRI) announced today that Toyota is bringing the Prius Challenge to the Sonoma Raceway for the third iteration of its ongoing Onramp series, an innovation event designed to engage the startup and tech community. This year’s event, to be held on March 3, 2017, will be hosted by Toyota Research Institute (TRI) and will feature a team competition where participants optimize their driving based on data and simulation from a connected Toyota Prius.
The Prius Challenge is a unique competition that originated at Toyota’s headquarters in Japan, where participants battle it out to see who can achieve the best fuel economy and efficiency rating on a Prius within a target time range. While Toyota employees and dealers have been able to participate in the challenge, this is the first time that members of the public will have the chance to compete. TRI is furthering the concept of Onramp to incorporate a technical challenge for participants that includes data crunching and simulation.
“TRI is excited to host the Prius Challenge and introduce a competition that will allow participants to use machine learning and sophisticated data analysis tools to test out their theories in the real world,” said Dr. ‎Gill Pratt, CEO at Toyota Research Institute, Inc. “Silicon Valley and the Bay Area are a hotbed for automotive talent and innovation, and this event is the perfect opportunity for TRI to engage with the tech community and have some fun in the process.”
This is the third Onramp event sponsored by Toyota. Jason Wiener, winner of the Onramp 2015 Smart Mobility Challenge, will return for Onramp 2017 with his connected car startup, Hyperdrive, by developing an application that enables Prius Challenge contestants to track telemetry data and optimize their performance during the race. Additionally, Open Source Robotics Corporation (OSRC), as part of a partnership with TRI, will provide a driving simulator that allows participants to strategize and practice driving through a virtual program.
“The Toyota Onramp series is a fantastic set of events aimed at driving collaboration between Toyota and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs,” said Wiener. “I hope we will see a great field of competitors out there on the racetrack on March 3 competing to bring home the Prius Cup.”
Toyota Onramp is an invitation-only event. For more information, including details on how to request an invitation or participate in the Prius Challenge, please visit the website here.
For updated information on Toyota Onramp, please follow @ToyotaResearch on Twitter.

About Toyota Research Institute
Toyota Research Institute is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor North America under the direction of Dr. Gill Pratt. The company, established in 2015, aims to strengthen Toyota’s research structure and has four initial mandates: 1) enhance the safety of automobiles, 2) increase access to cars to those who otherwise cannot drive, 3) translate Toyota’s expertise in creating products for outdoor mobility into products for indoor mobility, and 4) accelerate scientific discovery by applying techniques from artificial intelligence and machine learning. TRI plans to employ approximately 250 employees and is based in the United States, with offices in Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, CA (TRI-PAL), in Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts (TRI-CAM), and in Ann Arbor, Michigan, near the University of Michigan campus (TRI-ANN). For more information about TRI, please visit

John Hanson
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TRI/Onramp - Toyota Prius at the Sonoma Raceway

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