The Autonomous Research Vehicleclose
Images of “self-driving cars” have fueled science fiction dreams for generations. We moved one monumental step closer to realizing that vision at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where Toyota unveiled research it has been conducting on a modified Lexus LS sedan outfitted with special sensors and advanced safety features.
Though the “advanced active safety research vehicle” can operate without a driver operating its controls, “autonomous” should not be mistaken for “driverless.” Toyota’s goal is to equip vehicles with an intelligent, ever-attentive “co-pilot” that helps engaged drivers avoid accidents and enjoy a safer, more ecologically sound, and comfortable driving experience.
As a matter of fact as Jim Pisz, Corporate Manager of North American Business Strategy for Toyota Motor Sales explains, “We are trying to enhance the skills of the driver,” “A more skillful driver is a safer driver. It doesn’t mean that we believe in the future that in some cases the car can’t intervene when human error is absolutely evident. But right now we believe more in a co-pilot environment.”
The luxury sedan that debuted at CES includes a full arsenal of GPS technology, stereo cameras, radar, and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), an optical remote sensing technology that measures distance and other properties by illuminating targets with a laser. Pisz hints at other “secret technologies” built into the prototype that enable the vehicle to discern the colors of traffic lights, and a rooftop laser that can alert drivers of objects up to 100 feet away.
As with everything Toyota does, safety and the environment drive vehicle design. Our overarching goal is to help create a “smart mobility society,” where vehicular features and functions will connect all aspects of life across communities worldwide to meet the challenges of an aging society, urbanization, population growth, and need for a diverse range of energy sources. With the debut of its autonomous research vehicle, Toyota demonstrated at CES how it is creating the future today.
To learn more about the efforts behind the “Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle” and its capabilities click here.