Toyota and Lexus Set 2020 Goal for Automated Driving
This week, Toyota made a major announcement about the future of autonomous cars in its company by introducing the Highway Teammate Concept. A Lexus GS was modified for the Highway Teammate Concept, and has been tested on Tokyo’s Shuto Expressway. According to Toyota, the aim is to launch Highway Teammate cars and related products by 2020.
Using road map data and GPS, Highway Teammate knows where the car is and helps it navigate on highways. Using external sensors on the car, it is able to react to road hazards, choose the fastest route to a destination, and safely interact with cars around it.
To be clear, the Lexus GS didn’t drive through Tokyo’s city streets. The Highway Teammate is for use on freeways and other major roadways where cars reach fast speeds. On the test vehicle, the driver activates automated driving when they enter a highway and takes control back when they exit and return to city streets. The concept debuted last week is the first piece of the overall Mobility Teammate Concept that is aiming for automated driving for all aspects of a driver’s time behind the wheel.
“Highway Teammate” sounds like a peculiar name, but it was chosen with a purpose. Toyota says that the relationship between a driver and their car should be like that of close friends, watching out for each other and assisting when needed.
We’ll be on the lookout for more information about the Highway Teammate concept and the Mobility Teammate Concept program. More car companies are throwing their hat into the autonomous car ring. It’ll be interesting to see how our highways are different a couple years from now.