Toyota Showcases its "Toyota Guardian" Technology that Could Create Superhuman Drivers
Toyota Guardian Technology Blends Together Man and Machineby Sidd Dhimaan, on
Every automaker is working towards road and vehicular safety in some way or another. While most of them are doing it through autonomous technology, Toyota Research Institute had a breakthrough last year to fulfill its moral obligation towards road safety. In a nutshell, the technology, called “Guardian,” coordinates the skills of the human driver and the vehicle they’re driving. What’s even better is that Toyota intends to share this with other automakers as well.
Inspired Technology, Yet Very Effective
The technology was inspired by modern-day fighter jets that use a low-level flight control system to translate the intent of the pilot and keep the aircraft stable and tucked neatly inside a specific safety envelope.
Toyota calls it blended envelope control, an approach that lets its “Guardian” driver assist system combine the skills of the human driver and the vehicle. After testing it and realizing that it could save numerous lives with this, Toyota decided to share this technology with other automakers. Toyota is now calling it the “Guardian for all.”
What They Had To Say
The technology is still a few years away, though. Speaking with reporters at the CES, Toyota Research Institute’s CEO, Gill Pratt, said that he wasn’t sure if they would license the software or a combination of hardware and software to automakers. He only noted that Toyota has the desire and intent to open this technology up to the rest of the automotive industry.
"It’s a seamless blend of human and machine working together as teammates." "Our Guardian alerts the driver visually and audibly of imminent danger, and it avoids it by maneuvering out of the lane briefly, then returning to the original lane to avoid the obstruction," Pratt said. He also stated that “We were thinking about what would be good for society. We will not keep it proprietary to ourselves only. But we will offer it in some way to others, whether that’s through licensing or actual whole systems.”
Don’t Mix It With ‘Autonomy’ In General Sense
Although this seems like autonomy, Toyota has taken a dual approach it - one being the ‘Guardian’ and the other, ‘Chauffeur.’
For the latter, the Japanese giant intends to develop and deploy fully autonomous cars to serve an aging population, the disabled, or whoever might need a robo-taxi.
The CEO also added that there is still much to be done before these types of vehicles will be on the road in any meaningful way. Pratt also added, “We have a moral obligation to apply automated vehicle technology to save as many lives as possible as soon as possible.” Now, this being a dual approach, Toyota will be using the Guardian technology that operates in the background and steps in when needed. The driver is always driving, but Guardian is watching, sensing and anticipating problems.
Guardian Could Become a True Lifesaver
According to Toyota, ‘Guardian,’ unlike the ‘Chauffeur,’ is designed to amplify human control of the vehicle and not replace it. To show how it works, Toyota Research Institute showed a video at the Consumer Electronics Show of a three-car accident that included one of its self-driving research vehicles being driven in manual mode. However, the vehicle’s sensors were still capturing data.
Had the ‘Guardian’ technology been there, it would have anticipated or identified the pending incident and employed a corrective responsive in coordination with driver input.
From the video’s context, the automaker’s modeling and testing determined that the system would have prompted the vehicle to accelerate out of the way to avoid the accident altogether.
This seems like a Hybrid approach – neither fully autonomous, not fully manual. Even though the technology looks very promising on paper, we will know the actual results only when it is practically tested in the real-world. According to Ford, the self-driving cars and related mobility services could become a $10 trillion market within a few years.
But Pratt said the technology would be here in the 2020s and that it would be open to all automakers.
Given how we are evolving towards autonomy, this technology could put Toyota on a pedestal, and the automaker could boast itself as the safety leader in the rEVolution. Do you think Toyota would give this technology for free? Or would it earn royalty from the automakers who use it? Let us know your thoughts on this whole idea in the comments section below.
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