Tag: toyota automation
Recently Microsoft has been scrambling to try and convince automakers to use its technology for connected cars. Specifically its Azure platform. The tech giant swears that the technology is ideal for connected cars and that many of the features will make a very real difference for automakers. Apparently talks with Toyota have paid off, because the automaker is working with Microsoft signing a deal to use some of the company’s patent’s for developments in the future.
No Specific Details
Currently there are no specific details about the deal between the two mammoth companies, we just know that a deal was made. It’s presumed that the deal was for connected vehicles, and it’s likely that Toyota will leverage the tech to make some piece of self-driving vehicles, or at least communicating vehicles work more effectively.
Toyota’s Push for Connected Vehicles
This is just one more indicator that’s in favor of the idea that Toyota is pushing for connected vehicles that can communicate in different ways. Toyota understands the value of cars that can talk to one another, and earlier this year expressed an interest in creating vehicles that communicate for safety purposes. That could be something that the automaker is working on with help from Microsoft.
While there is no information about the amount that Toyota agreed to pay Microsoft, or what technology the auto giant is going to be using, it’s a good sign that some sort of innovation is on the way from Toyota, and that the company is serious about taking a strong step forward toward automation, communication and other tech-focused enhancements for its vehicles.
At the End of May Toyota showed off a new automated driving system the automaker has been working on. It’s known as Urban Teammate, and is the successor to the Highway Teammate concept. It’s an exciting achievement, but is only the first step of many that still have to come.
What it Does
The concept is designed to automatically traverse ordinary everyday roads. The system will be able to spot people and animals moving up and down the road, and rely on a range of GPS and detailed map information in order to safely navigate around. Stored information and information collected in real time come together in this technology to make ti possible to stick to speed limits, avoid collisions and safely move around without help from a human driver.
Making a Safe Driving Environment
Currently driving is quite dangerous to do, because people just aren’t predictable. Anything can happen while out on the road. That is expected to change dramatically when most of the vehicles out on the road are operated by computers. They won’t be unpredictable any longer, and can be depended on to help you get where you’re going safely.
Releasing High Definition Maps
In order for the current technology to be viable for drivers around the country, Toyota, or other automakers would have to put together very high definition maps of the roads, and maintain those maps with any new changes that occur. If they could manage this they would be a lot closer to actually being able to create self-driving vehicles that can be relied upon.
A Driving Partnership
The current technologies showed off by Toyota don’t focus on taking the task of driving out of the hands of the driver entirely. Instead it focuses on a necessary partnership between humans and computer driving systems. Together the two can safely move around the road. Some automakers believe that drivers will always have to be involved with moving a car safely, at least to a small extent, and for the time being that’s exactly the technology that Toyota is promoting. The tech takes over driving responsibility most of the time, but may require input from a driver from time to time if it doesn’t have enough data or runs into an issue it isn’t prepared for.
Autonomous driving technology is coming along, and Toyota is working to stay at the forefront of that movement, but there is a long way to go before autonomous vehicles are available for purchase by the general public.
After hearing from Toyota about their future plans for vehicle automation, it’s clear that they don’t plan on releasing a fully-autonomous vehicle anytime soon, but they are betting heavily on succeeding in creating a viable product in the future. They’ve committed about $50 million on the venture, and are actively working on developing technology that will help it compete with the likes of Google, Audi and a variety of other automation leaders.
Teaming up with MIT and Stanford
Toyota is teaming up with MIT and Stanford to try and develop artificial intelligence that will go toward vehicle automation as well as robotics. That’s where the $50 million investment is going, and it’s through this partnership that Toyota is hoping to get the answers that it needs to common automation challenges. Most of these answers should come through developed artificial intelligence.
Bringing on a Technical Legend
To help oversee the automation and AI project Toyota brought on Dr. Gill A. Pratt, the former manager of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA, and the leader of the well-known Robotics Challenge events. With Pratt at the helm of the project there’s no doubt that it’s going to move along toward a successful completion, but he says that full automation is a very difficult task.
Reaching Fully Autonomous is the Difficult Part
Pratt says that while it’s possible to create a vehicle that can handle driving without passenger intervention most of the time, getting that last little bit of automation in so the driver doesn’t have to intervene at all is by far the most challenging. The main issue is that people are always going to be involved.
Without People the Solution is Simple
Pratt states that people add in an element of the unknown to the whole equation. Whether you are talking about pedestrians, bike riders, or drivers who don’t have autonomous vehicles yet you’re going to have that element of unknown that can’t be predicted and that makes programming a vehicle to respond effectively all the time really challenging.
Getting going with all the research should help Toyota develop their autonomous technology and get a solid base to build off of. It’s hard to say if it will be enough to allow them to launch autonomous products before the likes of Google, or Audi, but they’re certainly on the right path.