3 Cool Facts About Toyota’s Autonomous Car
Earlier this year, Toyota made an interesting step into the self-driving car market, but with an appealing twist. Instead of fully autonomous cars, the automaker is working on a model that seizes control only in emergency situations, to avert an accident. Though Toyota is also working on fully autonomous cars as well, their semi-autonomous concept is a welcome starting point that they plan to release first. Here are the core facts we know so far about this project.
It’s Going to Be Cutting Edge
The primary challenge in Toyota’s product is not so much building and designing the vehicle itself, but filling the automated system with enough data to intelligently steer, brake, and navigate in lieu of a human driver. Then there’s the challenge of keeping that data on hand to accurately respond to an impending accident.
Most cars don’t make great supercomputers, thanks to the heat and weather they face, but members of the research institute are looking into the concept of neuromorphic chips such as IBM’s TrueNorth, a processor that behaves and is structured similarly to a living brain, which is massively more efficient than the computer chips of today.
It’s Made to Help You Drive
This system is virtually the opposite concept of a Google car, which the driver can choose to take control of in a tense situation. Instead, the vehicle will be self-driven until at risk, when it diverts control to the system for only as long as necessary, returning control to the driver with minimal interruptions.
Toyota decided to work on a partly autonomous vehicle to fill a crucial gap between modern drivers who prefer to be in control and drivers who want the best safety and comfort. Not only will the Toyota semi-autonomous car be a useful step forward, but it will further the potential human beings have when pairing their own skill to an intelligent computer system. Compared to a Google car, where drivers must suddenly take control and might not be prepared, the Toyota concept is both safer and more independent.
It’s Not All That’s Coming
The Toyota Research Institute has spent over five years and $1 billion on several related projects. Its primary research subjects are what the company calls outdoor and indoor mobility, with outdoor referring to vehicles and indoor referring to assistance technology for those who have limited mobility at home.
This means that around the same time that Toyota’s first models of semi-autonomous vehicles are open to the public or being talked about, we could see new advancements in mobility outside of the auto market, such as wearable technology that gives more sensory information to the blind or vision impaired.
Be sure to check in on Toyota every so often, since they seem on the verge of several impressive advancements in safety, mobility, and travel. It should be interesting to see what the company offers in the next few years. Until then, feel free to contact us with questions about any current Toyota models and their own advanced active safety features.