Toyota believes that interactions between drivers and cars should mirror those between close friends who share a common goal, sometimes watching over each other and sometimes helping each other out.
Toyota will enhance its development of these automated driving technologies with the aim of achieving a society where mobility means safety, efficiency and freedom.
On Tuesday, Toyota announced that it’s working on its own self-driving auto, one that it plans to hit roads around 2020, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Lexus vehicle was able to merge onto and exit highways, maintain and change lanes, and maintain inter-vehicle distances, all without human interaction.
Chief safety technology officer Moritaka Yoshida said automated driving technology is suitable for highway driving, but not yet ready to be used on roads with pedestrians and bicyclists.
However, he acknowledged that integrating the technology into the regular traffic with pedestrians and cyclists might be challenging.
In addition to demonstrating the capabilities of next-generation safety technologies, the vehicle represents Toyota’s view of the evolving driver-car relationship in the age of artificial intelligence.
Google has been testing self-driving cars in Silicon Valley, while Nissan has vowed to put an automated vehicle on Japan’s highways as soon as 2016.
Toyota also said it would launch three models in Japan this year equipped with “intelligent transportation system” (ITS) technology, which allows vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication to alert drivers to potential dangers using sensor technology. It provides warning to the driver in the form of an image on the dashboard and a beeping sound.
Tests are starting in the USA, but sales plans are not yet decided. Toyota’s new transmission system uses a different standard that will be open for use by all car-makers in Japan. In Japan, accidents at intersections account for about 40 per cent of all traffic accidents.