This year, Toyota was ranked at number 17 on MIT Technology Review's 50 Smartest Companies of 2016 list -- but did Toyota really earn it?

The automaker outranked traditional tech companies like Microsoft, Intel, and IBM on the list. MIT pointed out two key factors influencing the choice:

  • Toyota is one of the first to develop a mass-produced hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicle.
  • The newly-opened Toyota Research Center (TRI) is devoted to creating safer cars and mobility options via artificial intelligence and robotics.

It's that second one that we have to step back and scratch our heads about. We certainly are not devaluing Toyota's $1 billion investment into TRI. It's incredible that a car manufacturer is going to such incredible lengths to progress scientific discovery! It's just that one of TRI's three facilities is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where it collaborates directly with MIT to develop machine-learning technology.

Would Toyota have made it onto this list if it weren't for that partnership?

We think it might have. After all, Toyota was awarded 1,636 patents in 2015 -- more than any other automaker, according to the Intellectual Property Owners Association, and the company's dedication to science goes above and beyond making ever-better cars. Toyota research scientists even made a landmark breakthrough in magnesium-ion battery development.

Visit DCH Toyota of Oxnard and let us know what you think -- is Toyota a smart company?

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