Skip to Content

Toyota Motor Corp. Jumps on the Autonomous Vehicle Bandwagon

by  on  Accident Attorney

Technology has been in a constant state of change in recent years and automakers are trying to keep up with those changes. In the autonomous vehicle field, some car manufacturers have already started to make changes in an effort to keep up with what they believe consumers want and expect from their vehicles. But more recently, Toyota Motor Corp. has finally decided to “take the plunge” and dive into the autonomous vehicle arena.

Back in 2014, Toyota officials noted that they did not have any plans to develop completely autonomous automobiles because their primary objective was consumer safety. Specifically, the head of the automaker’s intelligent vehicle division at the time said that improvements would have to be made with respect to ensuring that self-driving automobiles are safe.

Now in 2016, Toyota’s CEO says that they are prepared to spend $1 billion on a new Toyota Research Institute that will closely focus on self-driving automobiles and robots.

A Closer Look at Toyota’s Plans

The head of Toyota’s new institute will work on improving driver safety by creating semi-autonomous systems that will use artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence would help improve vehicle reactions when attempting to avoid roadway dangers — even more so than current technology that utilizes image sensors.

Toyota has joined forces with several universities, including the University of Michigan, MIT and Stanford, in an effort to look ahead to the future, despite the fact that the company is off to a so-called “late start” in the autonomous vehicle world.

More specifically, the University of Michigan will be responsible for the research into fully autonomous automobiles, MIT will handle the aspects related to machine learning and Stanford will focus on partially autonomous automobiles.

While Toyota’s goal is to have a self-driving automobile on the road by 2020, the head of Stanford’s computer science department, which has teamed up with the automaker, has said that the work they do in this regard may be relevant as quickly as 2018, as late as 2028 or anywhere in between.

One Stanford project is taking a closer look at the defensive driving aspect of autonomous vehicles. A professor involved with the project noted that he was interested in creating software that would permit autonomous automobiles to make good practical choices if a biker appears suddenly on the roadway.

Moreover, the computer science department is utilizing 3D vision and pattern recognition that would give the automobiles the ability to recognize and distinguish kids playing with a ball near a street from pedestrians walking while viewing their cell phones.

Just recently in August, Toyota infused another $22 million into the University of Michigan’s research into self-driving vehicles and robotics. Toyota Motor Corp. currently holds over 50 patents with regard to autonomous vehicle technology, many of which relate to systems that will help the vehicles recognize and identify road features and detect external and elevated objects.

While autonomous automobiles may become a normal part of our driving experience in the very near future, accidents are still bound to happen as automakers continue to “work out the kinks” with technology.

If you or a family member sustains injuries in an automobile accident involving a self-driving vehicle or one operated by a human, contact a Denver accident attorney as soon as possible. Let Levine Law help.