HCAI Harmonious Communities Intern

Toyota Research Institute

Toyota Research Institute

Los Altos, CA, USA
Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2023
At Toyota Research Institute (TRI), we’re on a mission to improve the quality of human life. We’re developing new tools and capabilities to amplify the human experience. To lead this transformative shift in mobility, we’ve built a world-class team in Human-Centered, AI, Energy & Materials, Machine Learning, Human Interactive Driving, and Robotics.
This is a paid 12-week internship opportunity for Summer 2024. Please note that this will be a hybrid in-office role, located at our headquarters in Los Altos, CA.
The Team
This internship opportunity falls within the Human-Centered AI Division (HCAI). Our mission is to create new human-AI capabilities enabling “psychological mobility”—traversing psychological distances created by time, experience and social divisions. We are an integrated team of behavioral scientists, ML researchers, and human-computer interaction specialists. We focus on three core areas to generate impact across Toyota: Carbon Neutrality, Future Product Innovation, and Harmonious Communities.
Harmonious Communities is the newest department within the HCAI Division. We have been tasked with bringing Toyota’s mission of “happiness for all” to life by creating technology that fosters collective well-being and enables us to embrace our differences as strengths. Our current projects focus on two areas:
1. Fostering empathy as a way to build inclusive communities
2. Helping people envision positive futures for themselves
Our team works in a highly collaborative and integrated way. We believe that the unique challenges posed in facilitating harmony amid the multiple fracture lines we see today can only be resolved by studying issues from multiple disciplinary perspectives.
The Internship
We will be hiring 2 interns for Summer 2024. We are seeking people with expertise and research experience in at least one of the following areas. You need not be an expert in all of these terrains:
Social or behavioral sciences: You either have experience in qualitative or quantitative methods, designing human subjects experiments, and/or working with large public datasets. Your research background will relate to one or more of the following areas: social or organizational psychology, social cognition, judgment and decision-making, political science, anthropology, human geography, behavioral economics, or sociology.
VR / AR / XR: You have an interest in crafting and building novel interfaces, immersive visualizations, and interactive prototypes. You are passionate about using XR technologies to connect and bring people together or to improve society and the lives of others. You are able to work collaboratively across various subject areas. You have experience with 3D graphics and game engine programming using tools like Unity, Unreal Engine, or OpenGL.
- Experience developing XR applications on mobile devices or head-mounted displays
- Experience with Generative AI models for 2D or 3D media
- Experience with Computer Vision or Machine Learning with 2D or 3D data
Human-Computer Interaction: You have interest and experience in researching, designing, developing, and evaluating technologies to support human cognitive and emotional experiences and bring people together to improve society.
Machine learning: You have interest and experience in machine learning research and developing models with practical applications. We prefer candidates who also have an understanding of datasets about human behavior. You should enjoy working in an interdisciplinary team and have hands-on experience with a deep learning toolkit such as PyTorch and working with LLMs, plus strong coding skills.
For every discipline, we prefer if you have experience presenting your work to academics outside your home department at workshops or conferences. However, depending on your primary field, this may vary, and we are open to candidates who otherwise fit the call.
We will match you with a specific mentor based on your particular area of focus. In addition to working with that mentor, you will be expected to participate in the HCAI Division meetings, TRI-wide meetings, and intern events. You will be exposed to how interdisciplinary industrial research teams work and learn from our team and others in our Division and across TRI. Furthermore, you will engage in strategy discussions about how our research connects to business impact at Toyota.


  • Scope a summer research project that aligns with our core research efforts and is doable within the internship period
  • Be the primary driver of the technical plan (e.g., study design, model development, analyses) with regular feedback from mentors
  • Implement the project using TRI resources
  • Present the project’s approach and findings in research meetings


  • Enrolled in a PhD program
  • Track record of implementing an academic research project from inception to finish—we want to know that you understand the full process from design and execution through analysis and write-up. This does NOT mean you need to be done with your dissertation; it just means that you have played a key role from start to end in a research project
  • Desire to work on challenging, open-ended research projects
  • Desire to be part of a highly interdisciplinary team, and an understanding of how this will improve your work
  • Demonstrated ability to work autonomously while soliciting feedback
  • Interested in the topic space of community dynamics, empathy and decision-making, trust, peace-building, and social well-being. This is NOT a driving-related opportunity.
Please add a link to Google Scholar and include a full list of publications when submitting your CV to this position.
The pay range for this position at commencement of employment is expected to be between $45 and $65/hour for California-based roles; however, base pay offered may vary depending on multiple individualized factors, including market location, job-related knowledge, skills, and experience. Note that TRI offers a generous benefits package including vacation and sick time. Details of participation in these benefit plans will be provided if an employee receives an offer of employment.
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TRI is fueled by a diverse and inclusive community of people with unique backgrounds, education and life experiences. We are dedicated to fostering an innovative and collaborative environment by living the values that are an essential part of our culture. We believe diversity makes us stronger and are proud to provide Equal Employment Opportunity for all, without regard to an applicant’s race, color, creed, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, medical condition, religion, marital status, genetic information, veteran status, or any other status protected under federal, state or local laws.