Toyota is joining the growing list of automakers stepping up in the fight against COVID-19 in the United States.
The Japanese automaker said it is ready to begin production of much-needed medical gear to help health workers on the front lines.
Toyota said it is set to commence mass production of 3D-printed face shields and is also in the process of sourcing a partner in producing face masks. According to the company, it is ready to start mask production at any time, but it needs a partner that can supply the filters essential for the masks. These filters function as a protective layer that keeps the virus from penetrating through the nose and mouth.
In terms of ventilator and respirator production, Toyota said it is working with at least two companies to build the machines.
Aside from Toyota, other automakers such as General Motors, Ford, and Tesla have also pledged to mass-produce ventilators with their respective partners. They are also considering the possibility of building the machines in-house.
Ford is working on a simplified ventilator design with General Electric at one of its factories. The company also shared details regarding a new respirator design, which will include a portable battery pack to keep it powered. The machine will also be equipped with ventilated seat fans to circulate clean air. The ventilators will be using the same fans used in an F-150, while 3M’s HEPA filters will be added to keep the air clean.
Toyota, for its part, is set to send the first batch of face shields to local hospitals in Texas through shipments to Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan. Other essential supplies like N95 masks and safety goggles that were gathered from the company’s operations have also been donated to health care workers.
The automaker previously announced it will temporarily halt its manufacturing operations in all North American facilities. Toyota is looking to resume its vehicle production on April 20.