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Toyota's Woven City Concept Looks Amazing But Are Humans Ready for This Much Connectivity?

Toyota’s Woven City Concept Looks Amazing But Are Humans Ready for This Much Connectivity?

When you start packing AI, in-home robotics, and countless cameras, you have to wonder who is watching.

During CES 2020, Toyota announced that it was building “the city of the future” that will be known as “Woven City.” On the offset, it sounds pretty cool. Only autonomous, electric vehicles will be allowed in the city, it will serve as a research ecosystem, and will be packed to the gills with AI. It will be built with fully sustainable materials, and to make it even more eco-friendly, it will be powered by a mix of solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells. It really does sound great, and the rendered images of this future city look pretty awesome too, but it got me to thinking about how quickly “the city of the future” could become a 175-acre cesspool for privacy intrusion.

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Toyota Showcases its "Toyota Guardian" Technology that Could Create Superhuman Drivers

Toyota Showcases its "Toyota Guardian" Technology that Could Create Superhuman Drivers

Toyota Guardian Technology Blends Together Man and Machine

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.

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These Futuristic Wheelchair and Exoskeleton Concepts Are The Fruits of Toyota's Unlimited Mobility Challenge

These Futuristic Wheelchair and Exoskeleton Concepts Are The Fruits of Toyota’s Unlimited Mobility Challenge

This is one competition where we’d like to see the finalists bring their concepts to life

Toyota’s Mobility Foundation, in partnership with Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre, has unveiled the five finalists of its Mobility Unlimited Challenge. The contest was created to recognize the best new designs that help improve the lives of people with lower-limb paralysis or paraplegia. In the end, five finalists were chosen, including an Italian design house that we know more for its exotic performance car designs. Of the five finalists, two developed exoskeleton designs while another created a concept for the purpose of cultivating the electric wheelchair equivalent of a bike-sharing scheme. All five finalists received $500,000 from Toyota for making it this far in the competition. The winning designer, which will be announced in 2020, will also receive an additional $1 million for taking the competition.

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New Toyota And Lexus Vehicles To Get Amazon Alexa; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Still No Go

New Toyota And Lexus Vehicles To Get Amazon Alexa; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Still No Go

The war for in-car feature control heats up

These days, having the right infotainment and onboard technology is critical to new car sales, as evidenced by the huge number of automakers present at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. The latest comes from Toyota and Lexus, which just announced it would equip “select” models with advanced feature control courtesy of Amazon Alexa.

For those of you who may be unaware, Amazon Alexa is the online retain giant’s personal digital assistant. First used in the Amazon Echo, Alexa is able to provide a host of services via voice command, including music playback, the creation of to-do lists, alarm setting, real-time traffic status, and news. If properly integrated with devices and systems at home, Alexa can also perform other tasks, such as adjusting the temperature settings for the heater and A/C.

In total, Amazon Alexa can connect to “thousands” of things for added digital convenience. As for in-car features, Alexa can handle all the basics, such as remote door lock and unlock, as well as remote engine start and basic smartphone operation.

Starting this year, Amazon Alexa will be included with new Toyota vehicles equipped with the Entune 3.0 App Suite, as well as new Lexus vehicles equipped with the Enform App Suite 2.0. Toyota says the lineup of Alexa-equipped models will expand in 2019.

Meanwhile, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are still not included in Toyota’s lineup, which is a bit of a head-scratcher considering the platforms are two of the most popular smartphone support systems for modern passenger cars today. It’s great that Toyota and Lexus are stepping up their connectivity game, but with competitors flocking to Android and Apple, we can’t help but wonder how far Alexa will actually carry the brand in terms of winning over consumers.

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CES 2018 – Toyota's New Mobility Ecosystem Brings Together Companies Like Uber, Mazda, Pizza Hut, And Amazon

CES 2018 – Toyota’s New Mobility Ecosystem Brings Together Companies Like Uber, Mazda, Pizza Hut, And Amazon

The Japanese automaker hopes to add electric power and autonomous capability to the workhorse fleets of major corporations

As one might guess by glancing at the news coming out of the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, autonomous technology and electric vehicles are a pretty hot topic right now. And not just when it comes to passenger vehicle, either – these two major advances look to revolutionize a variety of businesses as well, offering reduced costs, greater energy efficiency, and higher levels of productivity and safety. Now, Toyota is giving us a glimpse at what the future of business transport might look like with its new e-Palette Alliance and accompanying e-Palette Concept Vehicle.

Toyota’s stated goal is to “meet the demands of future multi-mode transportation and business applications” through the utilization of a “new mobility ecosystem.” That includes Toyota’s Global Mobility Services Platform, as well as a series of partnerships and a flexible, modular, self-driving, all-electric concept to power it.

Basically, the e-Palette is a big four-wheeled platform that drives itself and runs on electrons, offering a large degree of adaptability for businesses. It includes a purpose-built interior space that can be leveraged for a variety of services, including “parcel delivery, ride sharing, or on-the-road e-commerce.” Toyota says it’s planning three different sizes for the e-Palette, with measurements varying between 4 meters and 7 meters (13.1 feet and 23 feet). For reference, the model at CES measures in at 4,800 mm (189 inches) in length, 2,000 mm (78.7 inches) in width, and 2,250 mm (88.6) inches in height.

So far, Toyota’s partners include companies like Mazda, Uber, Amazon, Pizza Hut, and DiDi, all of which offer input on “vehicle planning, application concepts and vehicle verification activities.” To adapt each e-Palette to the needs of each individual company, there’s an open control interface that will enable other companies to use their own automated drive systems if desired, as well as a bevy of connected features and the possibility for over-the-air updates.

The e-Palette is more than just a good idea. Toyota says it will conduct feasibility testing in various locales in the “early 2020s,” while also bringing the concept in some capacity to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

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Toyota's New E-Palette Concept Can Serve as an Open Platform for Developers

Toyota’s New E-Palette Concept Can Serve as an Open Platform for Developers

These concepts could be making their way into your city in the near future

As part of its future autonomous mobility service, Toyota has introduced the e-Palette Concept at the Consumer Electronics Show. If you’re a fan of aesthetically pleasing concept vehicles, now’s the time to turn away because the e-Palette is anything but attractive. The concept is actually just a box on four wheels, albeit one that serves a lot of different purposes depending on who’s using it.

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Will Toyota's New E-Palette Concept Show Us the Future of Inner-City Travel?

Will Toyota’s New E-Palette Concept Show Us the Future of Inner-City Travel?

Modular bus platform could change the way we view public transportation

Toyota may be known for its affordable Corolla and fast Supra, but the Japanese firm is also selling buses and boats in its home market. The Coaster, the only bus it offers right now, is quite famous. It’s been around for nearly 50 years, sold under license to Hino, and copied by numerous brands throughout Asia, especially in China and India. Come 2018 and Toyota wants to expand its bus production overseas. But its vehicle of choice is far from being a regular people hauler. The e-Palette concept wants to revolutionize public transportation and change the way we look at minivans and commercial trucks.

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2018 Toyota Research Institute Platform 3.0 Autonomous Car

2018 Toyota Research Institute Platform 3.0 Autonomous Car

The company’s autonomous Lexus LS gains new LIDAR sensors

A few years ago, concept cars were mostly about futuristic design features and new technology. This is still available today, but most automakers are including semi or fully autonomous driving systems in their show cars. This technology is supposed to become a production feature in 2021, and everyone is racing to get there first. Toyota is among those companies, and it just introduced an update to the LIDAR-equipped Lexus that it showed off twice in 2017. It’s still built around the old LS600hL — the Japanese firm launched a new LS last year — but it’s now called Platform 3.0 and comes with numerous upgrades.

The company’s Research Institute teamed up with more firms and departments than ever to create the third prototype, including CALTY Design Research in Michigan, Toyota Motor North America Research and Development, and Luminar. The latter has recently developed the most powerful LIDAR system on the market, which made its debut on this autonomous Lexus. Production of the CES-bound concept car is scheduled to commence this spring, but volume will be kept low, and all vehicles will be built for testing purposes only. Let’s find out more about Toyota’s most performant autonomous car yet in the review below.

Continue reading to find out more about the Toyota Research Institute Platform 3.0 autonomous car.

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2017 Toyota Concept-i

2017 Toyota Concept-i

An artifical intelligence-infused concept makes itself at home at CES

The Consumer Electronics Show is technically not an auto show, but with the marriage between technology and the auto industry evolving faster than ever, it might as well be. A handful of car brands, established or otherwise, flocked to Las Vegas to show off their latest technological wares with one in particular, bringing an actual AI-infused concept car to the event. That company is Toyota and it brought the Concept-i, an admittedly intriguing concept vehicle that leverages the burgeoning influence of artificial intelligence on the industry. In other words, it’s a vehicle that literally interacts with other vehicles and its passengers on its own. Who knew, right?

Make no mistake though; the Concept-i isn’t going to head into production anytime soon, maybe even ever. But that’s not important in the grand scheme of things, nor is it indicative of something that Toyota can actually build in the coming years. The Concept-i is, above all else, a look into the possibilities of what the auto industry can evolve into in the future, provided of course that charting that course ends up being possible.

Give Toyota this much credit too: it’s not afraid to go out on a limb to get people excited about the future. Applying artificial intelligence in today’s cars is way beyond anybody’s capabilities, but who’s to say that it can’t happen in the future? There was once a point in time when self-driving cars were thought to be the stuff of Jetsonian lore, but look where it is now.

Ultimately, the Concept-i is nothing more than a showcase for the future of a business that could one day rely on artificial intelligence as the backbone of its products. It’s anybody’s guess how far along that future is, but in the event it does come, it’s good to see a company like Toyota already having some kind of blueprint on how to put those puzzle pieces together should the future of the industry ends up taking that route.

Continue reading to read more about the Toyota i-Concept.

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Toyota Will Present New Map Generation System At 2016 CES

Toyota Will Present New Map Generation System At 2016 CES

We hear a lot of hype about autonomous cars, but it isn’t often that we hear about what goes on behind the scenes. I’m specifically talking about how these self-driving cars happen to know where they are going, the local traffic laws, road signs, and dividing lines. Your common GPS unit can show you a reasonably accurate map of the road, but very few can break it down into an accurate display of lanes, and none – that I’m aware of – display actual traffic signs. Up until this point, map data for autonomous vehicles is provided by other vehicles that are equipped with laser scanners. Data collected eventually has information like dividing lines and road signs manually inserted. This method is effective, but is expensive, subjected to errors, and isn’t updated frequently. Toyota is about the change the game, however, with a new system that will offer higher precision and won’t require as much manual editing.

Toyota’s new system will work somewhat like the current system used in Google’s self-driving cars. Cameras are attached to regular production vehicles, record the road, road signs, and various aspects of each road. In combination with GPS information, this information is uploaded to a special data center that automatically compiles all of the information in usable, high-precision map data. Toyota has noted that there is a higher potential for error with camera-based systems in comparison to current technology, but has stated that the margin of error can be dramatically reduced by combining data from multiple vehicles.

This technology is set to debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas between January 6th and January 9th, 2016. Toyota’s vision is that this technology will be a primary element that will make it possible to have self-driving vehicles by the end of the decade. At the start of things, this technology will be used primarily to map highway roads, but it will eventually evolve to map out ordinary roads as well. In a perfect world, Toyota hopes to collaborate with other map makers and encourage the widespread use of the technology.

Continue reading for the full story.

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