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Toyota Research Institute CEO Gill Pratt speaks during a news conference preview for CES International, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Las Vegas. The Toyota Research Institute announced a new leadership team for artificial intelligence and robotics research during the news conference Tuesday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

(Bloomberg) — The quest to build crash-proof cars at Toyota Motor Corp. isn’t just a job for Gill Pratt. It’s somewhat personal. Pratt still vividly remembers encountering the aftermath of a collision between a boy on a bicycle and a car that traversed a four-lane road as he walked home from elementary school in Springfield, New Jersey.

“The part that I remember the most were his shoes,” Pratt, 54, said in an interview in November, after Toyota announced he’d lead its $1 billion research institute. “His shoes on the road, those were what was left of him.”

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