Toyota Aims For AI Car Features By 2021 - InformationWeek

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Toyota Aims For AI Car Features By 2021

Toyota is the latest automaker to announce a timeline for including self-driving features in its vehicles. Within the next five years, the company expects to add driver assistance systems into its vehicles to perform safety-related maneuvers designed to avoid collisions.

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Toyota Motor is planning to integrate various self-driving features into its vehicles within the next five years. The latest announcement comes as the company seeks to leverage its $1 billion investment in autonomous vehicle research, and stay in the game as its competitors race toward putting self-driving cars on the road.

In the years leading up to 2021, Toyota expects to add driver assistance systems into its vehicles. Such systems perform safety-related maneuvers designed to avoid collisions, Gill Pratt, Toyota Research Institute (TRI) CEO, told Reuters.

"The intelligence of the car would figure out a plan for evasive action … Essentially (it would) be like a guardian angel, pushing on the accelerators, pushing on the steering wheel, pushing on the brake in parallel with you," Pratt told Reuters.

[Forget self-driving cars. What about solar-powered aircraft? Read Solar Impulse 2: 11 Images From Its Awe-Inspiring Journey.]

This type of "guardian angel" driving is being developed in the TRI in Palo Alto, Calif., one of three such centers the automaker has opened since last year. In an announcement earlier this year, the company explained the focus of each of its TRI locations. The Palo Alto TRI focuses on assisting drivers when needed. Its TRI center in Ann Arbor, Mich., will delve into fully autonomous driving, while its TRI center in Cambridge, Mass., will focus on deep machine learning and simulation.

Dr. Gill Pratt (far left), Toyota executive technical advisor and CEO of Toyota Research Institute (TRI), and Chuck Gulash (far right), head of Toyota's Collaborative Research Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., moderated a panel discussion with the new TRI technical team at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Jan. 5, 2016.
(Image: Kathryn Rapier courtesy of Toyota USA)

Dr. Gill Pratt (far left), Toyota executive technical advisor and CEO of Toyota Research Institute (TRI), and Chuck Gulash (far right), head of Toyota's Collaborative Research Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., moderated a panel discussion with the new TRI technical team at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Jan. 5, 2016.

(Image: Kathryn Rapier courtesy of Toyota USA)

When Toyota announced its $1 billion investment to create TRI centers, it emphasized that its use of AI and robotics would extend well beyond the self-driving car, and include uses in the home and other applications. Although Toyota relies on vehicle sales to drive its business, it is also apparently considering ways to develop other sources of revenue in light of aging populations in the US and Japan.

For example, self-driving cars could serve as a useful tool for those whose mobility is restricted. Toyota may be banking on the notion that having other automated, machine learning devices in the home would also be beneficial.

In the meantime, Toyota is in a race with other automakers and technology titans to get its get self-driving cars on the road.

Nissan, for example, last year announced tests of a driverless prototype car. The company expects to have the vehicle ready to navigate heavy highway traffic by the end of 2016. By 2018, Nissan is aiming to have its test car handle lane changes on multilane highways.

BMW expects to release its self-driving iNEXT electric car in 2021. Autonomous driving pioneer Google and high-end electric carmaker Tesla Motors already have test vehicles out on the road and are seeking to get them fast-tracked to market.

All of this effort aside, how soon will consumers be ready to embrace driverless cars? Perhaps a staged approached to automated driving may be the path to follow.

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

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SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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6/21/2016 | 8:13:59 AM
The future of AI in cars
I think that there are a couple of markets for AI in cars that will be very big influencers.  The first is the baby boomer generation aging to the point that driving is no longer an option.  The smaller Gen X behind them means there won't be the family support system to shuttle their parents around to doctor's appointments and grocery shopping trips.  As they age it's going to be tough to give up their freedoms and self-driving cars should extend those freedoms by at least 5-10 years. The second group is the upcoming batch of drivers that will turn 16-18 around 2020.  I see less emphasis around having a driver's license among current 16-18 year olds and that interest seems to be trending downward.  I think the kids being born today will have very little interest in driving especially if they can be driven by AI.  
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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6/22/2016 | 5:50:54 AM
Re: The future of AI in cars
Sane IT, 

Absolutely. Both groups you mention will benefit from AI and autonomous cars. It's not only in the US that it is noticeable less emphasis among the 16 to 18-year-olds around driving their own car. The same I have noticed in Europe.

I would make a difference, though, between having a driver's license and driving their own, or family owned car. Car share seems to be an option that many are taking. Then you have places like Amsterdam where there are more bicycles than cars. 

I completely agree with you about the kids who are born today. If we are expecting fully autonomous cars to be common by 2020-2021, by 2034 when those kids will be 18 most likely they won't choose to own an old car. And by then, every new car will be fully autonomous. In 20 years' time driving as we know it will be rare. 

-Susan

 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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6/22/2016 | 8:08:08 AM
Re: The future of AI in cars
I think if the US was further ahead in its public transportation systems autonomous cars would be in even higher demand.  Part of the challenge is funding the purchase of these vehicles, if current bus routes could be replaced by smaller, more efficient, autonomous bus like vehicles it would push the technology development even faster.  Once those systems were developed and it was more convenient to use public transportation in smaller cites the technology would bleed into personal cars more quickly.  I think it will be a tough transition for the older generations but the kids being born today will think driving a car is as archaic as hitching up horses.  
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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6/22/2016 | 5:03:12 PM
Re: The future of AI in cars
SaneIT, 

Volvo connected trucks used by logistics companies already exist. More autonomous feautures will be added as the technology advances and is adopted. These trucks make truck drivers life much easier, since drivers can have some hours of sleep. They save fuel and are safer since they eliminate road accidents caused by human error.

The same could be done with public transport systems. I see what you say viable for trials in current real smart cities, like Nice, for example.

Watch a platoon that recently completed a journey across Europe.

-Susan  

SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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6/23/2016 | 8:12:53 AM
Re: The future of AI in cars
When I talk about smart public transportation it becomes smaller vehicles, fewer passengers per vehicle and fewer stops per vehicle.  I think one of the biggest problems with bus lines is that for me to replace my 30-minute drive by taking buses it would take me 3 hours to get to work.  If there was an automated option that could pick up say 5-10 people in my area and act more like a taxi or shuttle, I would consider using it. A bus that stops every block gets very tough for work day commuting.  Buses for longer trips that don't make stops make sense but around town a nimbler option seems more effective. 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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6/23/2016 | 9:34:02 AM
Re: The future of AI in cars
SaneIT, 

That's a smart idea that should be difficult to put into practice. Those vehicles you envision could be used as public transport, and maybe by companies, something like an autonomous school bus. What I tried to say by showing you the trucks is that if they have thought about solutions to make logistics easier, saving time and money, in the same way  they could find similar solutions to replace the painful city buses like the ones you describe.

Your smaller vehicles idea should reach those who can make the change. :) 

-Susan
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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6/24/2016 | 8:08:23 AM
Re: The future of AI in cars
I understood the large trucking automation.  Most of the products we touch every day have spent some time traveling this way and I think it's a great area to address with automation.  Driving a large truck day in day out is not easy on a human body or mind, there is a lot going on and a lot to process very quickly, more so than driving your car down the road.  Even if we never fully automate the driving but greatly assist the drivers to reduce the hunting for data to process by removing blind spots, improving navigation, assisting with the actual driving for example.  Once those systems are working they can be scaled down to mini buses or mini trucks.  Imagine not having to drive a large truck into a large city.  A large trucking hub could exist on the edge of a large city then smaller autonomous vehicles could move smaller shipments into the city.  The same could address public transportation, airplanes, trains and large buses bring people into cities and smaller transportation options shuttle them around with shorter more frequent routes. 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
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6/24/2016 | 11:20:43 AM
Re: The future of AI in cars
@SaneIT: Indeed, I definitely understand and appreciate how this technology can be applied in commercial and industrial settings.

For personal use, the safety features are great, but anything beyond that I think will (and ought to) come down to personal preference.

As for me, I don't even like backseat drivers -- let alone my own car telling me how to drive!  ;)
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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6/27/2016 | 7:59:34 AM
Re: The future of AI in cars
I joked recently about some license plates around here.  Motorcycles with a rider under 21 get a plate that really stands out from the crowd.  I want an over 80 plate for cars as a warning system.  Not just for safety though I can see a lot of uses for automated vehicles.  Car sharing for example, a car that can go from stop to stop without needing a licensed driver would be a great tool for many families. 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
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6/27/2016 | 11:15:17 AM
Re: The future of AI in cars
SanaIT, 

With such car, busy parents with kids could have great help when it's time to take kids to school and back. Many may not see th epotential yet, but autonomous cars are going to become a great tool with many applications. 

-Susan
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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6/28/2016 | 8:04:38 AM
Re: The future of AI in cars
That is along the lines of what I was thinking.  Buses make sense now because you need humans to drive and routes need to be fairly simple because they don't have a logistics system behind them to plan routes that aren't pre-determined.  The first steps may not be an autonomous car in your garage, it may be a service similar to luxury taxi services.  Schedule a pick up time and the car arrives at the specified location at the specified time.  This would be great for people who ride share but need to make a one off trip to run errands or leave early one day.  We've seen Uber change the face of taxi services, I suspect that autonomous vehicles will go even further and will be able to reach into the public transportation systems.  

 

Enjoy the conference, insurance companies should have a lot to say about connected cars and especially autonomous cars.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
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7/19/2016 | 4:19:47 PM
Re: The future of AI in cars
Proliferating autonomous cars is an attempt to turn roads and highways into a form of mass transit.

Given that Americans like their cars and dislike mass transit (who, other than hipsters -- who like all things terrible -- actually likes riding on a crowded, dirty, slow subway, train, or bus?), I suspect the AI crowd has their work cut out for them.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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7/20/2016 | 9:57:09 AM
Re: The future of AI in cars
I would be all for cars that act like trains as a mass transit style of travel.  In the past I envisioned train like vehicles that shuttled multiple cars along a highway much the way that a ferry works on water but if we can have AI driving the cars and acting as one unit it should greatly reduce highway accidents.  I do wonder though how long it will take before human drivers are banned from specific roadways.  Will we ever get to the point where human controlled cars are confined to garages and tracks?
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
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7/21/2016 | 10:11:06 AM
Re: The future of AI in cars
@SaneIT: I think the best way to describe the USA is that we have more problems in certain areas than other countries do that are connected to the enhanced freedoms we enjoy.  Driving independently on the open road is one of those things.  Is freedom optimized for safety?  Of course not -- just the way in technology how accessibility and security are mortal foes.  It's just a matter of our values system.

Personally, I like the freedom to be able to drive as a qualified and skilled driver -- and it's not one I would like to give up.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
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8/1/2016 | 8:30:22 AM
Re: The future of AI in cars
I think that a lot of people would happily give that up for their daily commute, especially if they could count commute time toward working time.  There are days that my drive home has me thinking about issues that arose during the day and the disconnect from the desk lets me bring in fresh ideas.  I'd love to be able to jot those down as I'm riding home.  I do enjoy driving so I would at least want something to drive normally at least on a part time basis but the daily utility of driving I would gladly give up for a little more productive time.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
8/3/2016 | 5:25:31 PM
Re: The future of AI in cars
@SaneIT: Sure.  Some prefer option A, some prefer option B.

Automated vehicles scare the bejeezus out of me though precisely because they do not act like human drivers and operate on their own logic -- which is why they've been involved in so many crashes.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
6/27/2016 | 10:52:34 PM
Re: The future of AI in cars
@Joe - I would guess you have lots of company in your way of thinking.  I think personality traits are at work here - those who have difficulty handing over control to others and those with a high internal locus of control (those who think what happens to them is a result of their own actions and not external factors) will likely not be interested in entrusting the car to do the driving.  Like me, for instance.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
6/27/2016 | 11:21:54 AM
Re: The future of AI in cars
SaneIT, 

You have great ideas. You should work in public transport city planning, or something like that. :)  

Did I tell you that I am attending 5G World, Connected Cars, and Insurace Telematics in London this week? 

-Susan 
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