Japanese automaker Toyota (TM) is teaming up with AI startup Preferred Networks (PFN) to improve the design of its home service robots, as the company continues to research machine learning technology. The robots will be "capable of learning in typical living environments."

Nobuhiko Koga, the Chief Officer of Toyota's Frontier Research Center, said the company is "excited by the prospect of collaborating in research and development with PFN, which boasts world-class intelligence technologies."

By teaming up with PFN, Toyota hopes to bring its Human Support Robots (HSR) to the next level. The machines are already undergoing trials at nursing and elderly care facilities, with the machines learning how to pick up objects and how to deliver treatment.

The home service robots are intended to help Japan's elderly, as the Asian country has an aging population.

Another self-learning robot that Toyota is testing is called Pocobee, which can engage in conversations with the elderly and can monitor the health situation of individual patients.

One reason why Toyota is designing these robots is so that it could better incorporate machine learning into its vehicles to keep up with competition. Luxury electric vehicle company Tesla, as well as Ford and General Motors, are also adopting or looking into AI and self-driving technology.

Since 2014, Toyota and Preferred Networks have been collaborating on how to best incorporate AI into Toyota vehicles. Earlier this week, Toyota announced that it was making an investment of 10.5 billion yen ($98.9 million) into PFN.