Tag: toyota autonomous
Smartphones and computers have personal assistants, so Toyota says why not cars as well? The automaker put together a very futuristic looking concept vehicle for CES called Concept-I, and it comes with its very own personal assistant Yui. It’s not just any personal assistant though, this is an artificially intelligent entity that grows more intelligent as you spend time with it. It’s supposed to feel like a member of the family almost, or a friend that you are riding around with.
It’s Like a Living Breathing Creature
Toyota went all out trying to make Yui feel like a living thing. The car can greet you as you walk up to it and can put visuals on the side panels, making it possible for it to communicate with you even when you are not in the vehicle. It will take directions from you and help you manipulate the systems in the vehicle. Yui will also communicate to other drivers at the rear of the vehicle about upcoming hazards or problems. At the front of the vehicle you’ll see Yui blinking through the headlights, and there is also an indicator letting drivers know whether you are in manual or autonomous driving mode.
Space Age Design
It’s obvious from the first glance that the Concept-I vehicle is not a standard model. It shows off highly futuristic styling, and features that you won’t find on any other vehicles. The car is light and airy on the inside, but it features holographic displays and neon lights all over the place. It’s like climbing into an alien space ship. The doors even swivel up and out on their own, much like the cockpit of a jet.
While driving the Concept-I around, directions are displayed right up on the windshield itself. That means you’ll see arrows on the roads ahead of you showing you where to make your turns.
The car also covers autonomous driving, and is designed to shift in and out of autonomous driving mode depending on what the user is interested in at the time. It will allow drivers to have control only when they want to, and to give it up to the onboard computer when they do not.
The Toyota Concept-I shows how a futuristic vehicle should be. It’s exciting, ultra-modern and displays impressive artificial intelligence that likely won’t be matched by many other vehicles.
Toyota is working hard to build self-driving vehicles, and the automaker is investing heavily in the technology. While other companies are very confident in their ability to get this technology out to the market, Toyota remains a bit more reserved about its changes. The automaker knows that it’s a massive effort and that huge amounts of data have to be collected and synthesized about driving in order for cars to start operating themselves. That’s something the automaker is working hard on, but it still remains reserved about its plans to get these features out to the public, which is a sign that the company will eventually be successful creating self-driving cars.
Gathering All the Data
In order to teach cars to drive themselves, you need a whole lot of data. Data about the roads, data about how vehicles interact with one another and data about roadway rules. This has to be collected on a massive scale to be useful, because there are variations from one driver to another and from one section of the country to another.
In order to assemble the massive amount of data needed for effective teaching and advancing Toyota is drawing from the pools of its own customers. Collecting essential driving data through its own apps and media systems to find out exactly how people drive their vehicles.
The automaker already has a massive data center going up in Plano Texas within the Toyota Connected facility. The Toyota Global Big Data Center as it’s to be known is a monstrous facility that’s going to hold the company’s major data from all around the world. It’s a hub where data can be assembled and then synthesized to be used for learning purposes.
How the Data is Gathered
Toyota is currently using a couple of different methods to gather up all the valuable data that it can. Each of the cars comes with sensors that give vehicle information such as speed and direction. There are also LIDAR, radar and camera systems on some of the newer vehicles. These systems are picking up information about vehicles and their surroundings as they travel around through the roads around the world. Toyota is watching how vehicles operate individually, but even more importantly how they operate when around one another. There is a social aspect to driving, and it’s different depending on where you live. The vehicles need to understand car and person interaction at each location to know how to drive and maneuver properly in general.
Synthesizing the Data
Toyota is working hard to release a slew of safety and autonomous features for its vehicles, and each one of these features depends heavily on all the research that the company is able to gather from the environment. High quality maps, decent traffic laws and reaction rules are all based on information taken from drivers currently out on the roads. If you get a car with adaptive cruise it relies on data to operate effectively and offer you the best blend of features.
More complex features that are released in the future will rely even more heavily on all these rules and the information gathered, which is why Toyota is putting such a strong emphasis on getting as much valuable data as it can today.
Machines learn through a series of examples, not by rules. That means to train a car to drive properly it needs to be shown millions of different driver scenario examples that it can learn from. That’s what Toyota is doing with information recordings from drivers all over the world. Putting together important examples that are all feeding the brain that will hopefully someday confidently travel around the road while keeping drivers even safer.
Releasing Improved Driver Assist Systems
Toyota plans on releasing increasingly advanced driver assist systems to drivers around the country. The systems will start out handling only a small number of driving scenarios such as long-distance highway driving where things are quite monotonous. Later on the systems become more advanced and will handle more varied driving conditions, until one day drivers don’t have to operate vehicles at all to reach their destinations.
That major data center held by Toyota is going to be an instrumental part of creating actual self-driving vehicles, and it’s something the automaker is working very hard on currently.
One of the biggest challenges to making self-driving vehicles into a reality is getting detailed data about all the roads in America. Getting such data for a small section of roadway or even a planned route is one thing, but making it happen for all the roads in the country is another altogether. It’s a massive project that the company would be hard-pressed to tackle on its own, and it plans to turn to all the vehicles driving around the road to compile that very important data. Toyota is planning to use new vehicles to capture road data on a massive scale and compile all that information into a comprehensive data center.
Getting the Data
Toyota plans on outfitting cars around the country with GPS systems and cameras to capture as much data as possible. All the data will be captured as people drive around the roads throughout the United States. The sheer amount of data that could be collected by the millions of vehicles travelling around the roads of the United States could make quick work of gathering all the data that needs gathering, and that’s what Toyota believes will allow it to create effective self-driving vehicles in time.
Currently laser-imaging devices are used to capture information for every little bit of roadways and that information is then processed carefully by a powerful computer. That process is slow and it makes mapping out roads troublesome while also making it difficult to get updated information about roads. Using such technology would result in roads not being updated nearly enough for accurate information. Instead of using such precise laser imaging devices, Toyota plans on getting many times more simple pieces of information from the GPS and camera setups in thousands or millions of vehicles. The information can be compiled over and over again and compared to triangulate highly accurate information. Toyota believes that the information will be accurate to within two inches, more than enough to keep cars operating safely.
It’s an exciting idea and a way for Toyota to prepare for the future. The automaker is already working to bring hydrogen fuel cell technology to the mainstream and now it could be one step closer to creating self-driving vehicles.
Toyota plans to be the very first auto manufacturer that creates talking vehicles on a massive scale. They plan on selling cars that speak to one another over a set frequency. This communication is key to getting vehicles driving themselves, because sensors alone aren’t going to offer enough information to keep vehicles from smacking into one another all the time. By being the first company to offer this technology to consumers Toyota is taking the lead in the self-driving market.
The Intelligent Transportation System
Before year’s end Toyota is going to start sticking the systems into their vehicles and calling them Intelligent Transportation Systems. There isn’t any information about whether they are going to be offered in the United States, or how much the technology will cost consumers, but it’s a good place to start.
Toyota is setting up its vehicles to talk to one another over a 760 megahertz frequency while driving down the road. The automaker will make use of signals similar to WiFi and radio waves to send lightning quick messages between nearby vehicles.
We already know that the technology is an important precursor to self-driving vehicles, but what do current drivers get out of it? Toyota states that it will help make radar cruise more efficient so that several vehicles on the highway could all synchronize speed changes and create a smoother traffic flow that’s more enjoyable for everyone.
Making Driving Safer for Everyone
Toyota is fighting to get what it calls a “smart infrastructure” in place around countries. This includes a series of cameras and sensors and communication systems in all the vehicles driving around. A combination of all these features could reduce accidents significantly together and make driving into the safe activity that it should be. The inter-car communication system is just the first step to this overall goal, and it’s a good way to get the American public, and other sections of the world, to see the benefits of cars that can talk to one another and their surroundings.