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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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Best Used 2016 SUV for Fuel Economy

Best Used 2016 SUV for Fuel Economy

Who said these big boys can’t run efficiently?

The market trend is quickly shifting from sedans to crossovers and SUVs. However, SUVs have two major cons when compared to their segment counterparts - high retail price and poor fuel economy. Even though they are a practical choice thanks to additional cabin and cargo space, it’s a little difficult for everyone to afford an SUV. So why not go for a used SUV instead? You don’t take the depreciation hit that first owner does, and since SUVs are built to last a lifetime, you can get an almost-new SUV at half the original price.

Now that we’ve planted this seed in your head, let’s have a look at the best used SUVs from 2016 with high fuel efficiency.

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Toyota Thinks Manual Labor is the Solution to Efficient and Cheap Ride-Sharing Services

Toyota Thinks Manual Labor is the Solution to Efficient and Cheap Ride-Sharing Services

Some people are knocking the idea but what’s wrong with a little exercise?

A patent recently discovered by Autoguide reveals that Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing has devised a pedal and crank system to help charge ride-sharing EVs, ultimately reducing their need to recharge and giving discounted fares depending on how much work each rider does during their ride.

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Toyota's Next-Gen EV Motor Will Use Less Rare Earth Metals; Cost Less

Toyota’s Next-Gen EV Motor Will Use Less Rare Earth Metals; Cost Less

Bet you wish you listened to your Chemistry professor in high school, right?

Toyota has developed a new type of magnet that relies less on neodymium, a rare earth metal that’s used in the world’s most powerful permanent magnets, including those that are used in motors for electric cars. According to the Japanese automaker, the new magnet has 20 percent less neodymium in them, lessening the reliance on the precious metal as the production of hybrid and electric cars ramp up in the coming years. It is believed that lessening the reliance on neodymium will go a long way in cutting down the costs of producing electric cars.

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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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Toyota's Solid-State Battery: Game Changer or Utter Disappointment?

Toyota’s Solid-State Battery: Game Changer or Utter Disappointment?

Maybe Mazda didn’t get the shaft in that partnership deal

Toyota has said that it’s solid-state battery will be a “game changer” at the Tokyo Motor Show but at the same show, Chairman and Engineer, Takeshi Uchiyamada told Reuters that there are still some issues with the batteries:

“We are scrambling to finish developing this technology, but a few issues still remain as we try to mass produce this.”

Apparently, there’s an issue with the life-span of the battery, which uses a solid material instead of a liquid electrolyte – something that is said to improve performance and safety since it isn’t flammable either. Uchiyamada didn’t specify what kind of life Toyota was getting from the batteries that it had tried to mass produce, but it was mentioned that people wouldn’t buy an electric car if the battery pack only last three years. If that’s the kind of lifespan these batteries currently have, that’s certainly far from the “game-changing” technology I told you about when I brought you news about Mazda getting the shaft in the Toyota-Mazda-Denso EV partnership.

And, in case you’re questioning Uchiyamada’s credibility, he was behind the design of the first Prius, so he happens to know a few things about batteries and what makes them tick. Despite this seemingly huge setback that Toyota is experiencing in producing these batteries, the brand still believes the batteries will be the bee’s knees when they are perfected. It’s an unproven technology, but they can supposedly provide greater energy density, which would allow a SSB the same size as a traditional lithium-ion battery to hold more electricity, ultimately leading to smaller, lighter batteries. Or, depending on the situation, larger batteries with much longer range.

So, what can we expect? Did Mazda luck out not being involved with the solid-state batteries? Keep reading to learn more.

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Toyota Gives Mazda the Shaft on Battery Technology

Toyota Gives Mazda the Shaft on Battery Technology

Seems like Mazda got a raw deal on this one

Despite the partnership between Toyota, Mazda, and Denso to develop structural technologies for electric cars, Toyota showed up at the Tokyo Auto Show with news that its new solid-state battery technology is a “game changer,” but that it would not share the new technology with its partner Mazda. Apparently, the two brands will still share a platform that can support either current Lithium-Ion batteries on the new solid-state units that Toyota has developed in-house and will keep in-house.

This news comes just a few months after the initial deal between Toyota and Mazda was announced that included an investment from both automakers to build a $1.6 billion plant in the U.S. to develop “electric vehicle technology.” A month later, Denso was added into the mix, and a new contract was signed. The new plant will reportedly be built in the south and employ 4,000 people that will have a hand in producing 300,000 vehicles annually. Essentially, the companies will be sharing factory space and pulling certain parts – now, apparently, EV platforms – that they can all use in their vehicles, something that should help both companies shed a little bit of production costs.

Of course, we haven’t heard a word from Mazda as to whether or not it was expecting to get Toyota’s battery tech as well, but there certainly could be some drama flying around if it was an expectation of the deal. On the other hand, the move should help keep the companies competitive and hopefully Mazda has something up its sleeve as well. At this point, both companies really need to step up their EV game as stricter emissions laws are forcing automakers to shift into delivering more and more EVs in the coming years and some countries are outright banning the ICE altogether. There’s no word as to when Mazda will put its first EV on the road, but Toyota plans to launch its first EVs (probably SUVs or Crossovers) in the first few years of the next decade. Exciting stuff to say the least.

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Toyota's Recent Patents Have All The Makings Of Science Fiction

Toyota’s Recent Patents Have All The Makings Of Science Fiction

Does the thought of an invisible cloak for your car excite or scare you?

Remember when news broke a few weeks ago that Toyota had filed a patent application for an under seat capture device? It was, for all intents and purposes, one of the most exciting patent applications we’ve seen in recent years. Above all else, it’s a practical device that should have been already been invented. But don’t mistake Toyota a being a purveyor of useful patents, because if recent history is any indication, the Japanese automaker has been known from time to time to apply for patents on technologies that really go beyond the realm of today’s possibilities. Take the “shape morphing fuselage” of an aerocar it filed patents for last year. That’s as good an example as some of the more recent patents that Toyota has filed, specifically a see-through A-pillar and, believe it or not, a cloaking device that makes parts of the car invincible.

It’s hard to tell if Toyota is a genius for thinking completely out of the box with these patents or it just has far too much free time on its hands. Either way, it’s hard to blame the Japanese for thinking of ways to revolutionize the auto industry, no matter how preposterous these ideas get. The under seat capture device is one thing because the potential for modern-day application is already there. But a cloaking device that makes parts of the car invincible? There’s a strangeness to it that’s actually a little endearing because, really, who doesn’t want to play around with this kind of technology. Safe to say then that Toyota’s R&D division has become a playground for the imagination. Who really knows what it might come up next. A shape-shifting car, perhaps? Oh, wait…

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Toyota's Patent For An Under-Seat Capture Device Is The Answer To Our Prayers

Toyota’s Patent For An Under-Seat Capture Device Is The Answer To Our Prayers

For the sake of humanity, Toyota. Make it happen

Raise your hands if you’ve ever dropped any items or knick knacks that sliver of space between the front seats and the center console. It’s a frustrating thing to have to deal with, especially when you’re running late and you drop your keys there or you’re paying toll on a busy turnpike and a few nickels and dimes slip out of your hands and gets sucked into that abyss just as you’re about to fork them over to the self-service machine. The experience can shoot blood pressure levels through the roof but from the looks of things, Toyota seems to have come at just the right time to relieve us of one of our worst nightmares with a patent for a device it calls the “Under-Seat Capture Device.”

This isn’t a joke, folks. Toyota filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for such a device, which can help car owners easily retrieve small objects when they’re dropped into that veritable black hole. According to one version of the new tech – or “embodiment” as the patent describes it – a small chute located in the dark space catches items that fall in and funnels them to a platform located just beneath the seat. This platform is then connected to an actuator that, when actuated, moves the platform to a location where the driver can easily retrieve his items. Seems straightforward enough, right? More than that, it’s the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that we need more of in the industry today. It’s hard to imagine anybody not having gone through the pain and frustration of dropping items in that small crack. Hopefully, Toyota’s patent application bears fruit one day. We’ve waited long enough for salvation, Toyota.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Toyota Partners With Mazda to Develop EVs

Toyota Partners With Mazda to Develop EVs

Duo also set to build new stateside assembly plant for $1.6 billion

Toyota and Mazda just announced a new partnership wherein the Japanese automakers will jointly develop electric vehicles. The partnership also includes a forthcoming $1.6 billion assembly plant at an as of yet unannounced location, with production scheduled to ramp up by the year 2021. The plant will create upwards of 300,000 vehicles annually and employ roughly 4,000 U.S. workers, prompting a Tweet from President Trump, who praised the announcement as a “great investment in American manufacturing.” The plant will initially build models of the Toyota Corolla and a new Mazda SUV, with the possibility for EVs sometime in the future. The partnership includes a 5 percent stake in Mazda for Toyota and a 0.25 percent stake in Toyota for Mazda, with the possibility for expansion in the future. Toyota and Mazda will also work together in developing infotainment tech and autonomous driving tech.

The partnership is framed as a major step forward for EV development for both companies. “There will be new rivals appearing – Apple, Google – these are IT companies, we also need to compete with them, too,” said Toyota President Akio Toyoda, according to Reuters. “What’s different from the past is that there are no nautical charts for us to follow. It’s without precedent,” he added with regards to EV tech and alternative vehicle power sources. Without a doubt, this new partnership marks further expansion of the EV segment as a whole and the expectation of widespread EV adoption in the near future.

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How Awesome Would It Be To Have A Flying Car Light The Olympic Flame At The 2020 Tokyo Olympics?

How Awesome Would It Be To Have A Flying Car Light The Olympic Flame At The 2020 Tokyo Olympics?

Toyota’s backing an effort to make it happen so we should all be excited

The thought of seeing a flying car remains a figment of the imagination for a lot of people. But that’s not the case to a group of people that make up Cartivator, a collection of Toyota employees who work on their free time to develop a flying car. The group has been relentless in its pursuit of developing the technology that can pave the way for a flying car to become a reality. They’ve gotten minimal support since their collective started in 2012, but with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics fast approaching, Cartivator just landed a big ally from its mothership.

Previously ambivalent to the thought of flying cars, Toyota has reversed course by throwing its support behind Cartivator and providing roughly 40 million yen, or about $352,982, to the group to get its research off the ground, no pun intended. The Japanese automaker’s contribution to Cartivator’s cause is a huge stimulant to the group’s goal, which had previously relied on private individuals and online crowdfunding to generate financing. While there are still a number of obstacles to be cleared, Cartivator’s research and development has progressed to the point that it’s already developing a prototype for a manned test flight by the end of 2018. With Toyota’s help, the objective now shifts to getting a flying car off the ground in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to serve the singular purpose of lighting the Olympic flame. Seems like a reasonable goal, don’t you think?

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Toyota Develops TNGA-Based Powertrain Units

Toyota Develops TNGA-Based Powertrain Units

Does the announcement also include potential tidbits about the new Supra?

Toyota is an absolutely mammoth automaker, rivaling even Volkswagen in terms of total units sold annually. And that means any time Toyota makes a big company-wide move, the industry pays close attention. You may have heard about Toyota’s intention to move towards widespread use of the Toyota New Global Architecture, a modular auto architecture set to underpin everything from SUVs to the new Prius, with support for FWD, RWD, and AWD platforms. The idea is to consolidate and cut costs, streamlining mass production across the product portfolio. Several other automakers are following suit with similar plans, and now, Toyota has announced details on the powerplants it’ll stuff into those upcoming TNGA models.

Included in the exhaustive announcement is an outline for the automaker’s upcoming engines, transmissions, and hybrid systems. All-electrics are also mentioned briefly, but look to be introduced in the long-term. And if you read closely, you might even find a few hints about the new Toyota Supra, although it’s not mentioned directly.

TNGA was first used with the fourth-generation Prius, just released last year (check out our driving impression and review here. The platform promises performance upgrades like a lower center of gravity, a lighter curb weight, and a more compact fit. In fact, Toyota even says it starts by asking if a car is “fun to drive.” And since modular platforms will indeed save money, TNGA could lead to new sports cars. Like a new Supra, for example.

But unsurprisingly, the new powertrain units seem focused on lowering environmental impact, something that’s to be expected from the company that created the Prius.

With its new highly efficient engines and transmission units, Toyota hopes to cut total CO2 emissions by 15 percent across each of the major global markets in five years, all by itself. That’s a hugely ambitious for a single automaker, even one as big and influential as Toyota.

But what about the actual driving experience? Toyota says it focused its development team on creating something that’s “Direct & Smooth,” even going so far as saying the new powertrain units will “change how Toyota cars drive.”

The new TNGA powertrain units will see implementation starting in 2017.

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Toyota Patents Racing Assist Technology

Toyota Patents Racing Assist Technology

It’s Gran Turismo come to life and we could have Toyota to thank for it

If you’ve ever played a car racing game, say Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport, you know that there’s a difficulty mode within these games that allow you to enable racing assist, a feature wherein the computer depicts a racing line on the track that helps gamers navigate around the track more easily. These feature often says when a car should start to slow down and brake as it approaches a corner or what racing line it needs to take to post quicker lap times. It’s a great feature for novice gamers, but now it appears that Toyota is bringing that virtual assistance to the real world after filing a patent for a “vehicle race track driving assistance.”

The patent is what you’d expect given its name and from what we’re used to in those video games. In effect, the technology uses cameras and GPS and combines them with pre-programmed layouts of specific race tracks. These layouts include precise measurements of latitude and longitude data, ensuring that the information that’s transmitted to a driver are all accurate, right down to the core measurements.

So how does the driver receive the data? The patent only talks about a “display system” that shows the feature to the driver. No specific were mentioned on what this display system will consist of, but it could come in the form of a head-up display that will show all the pertinent information the driver needs to assess a specific portion of a track and give the necessary recommendations on how to best drive through that portion. The system can even take the “assistance” a step further by taking control – to a certain extent – the steering, braking, or acceleration of the car in the event certain situations call for it. The system has enormous potential if Toyota goes ahead and develops the technology.

There’s been no hints from the Japanese automaker on whether it plans to proceed past the patent application stage, but considering that the company first applied for this patent in May 2015 (the United States Patent and Trademark Office only published it in October 2016), it’s worth wondering if Toyota has already made significant leaps in the development of the technology.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Prius Prime Gets 11.6-Inch Touchscreen; Cue More Upscale Hybrids?

Prius Prime Gets 11.6-Inch Touchscreen; Cue More Upscale Hybrids?

The larger screen could see use in future Prius models

Last Tuesday, we reported that the new Toyota Prius Prime came equipped with loads of fancy new interior tech, including a new 11.6-inch HD multimedia screen mounted in the center console. We said it looked surprisingly similar to what Tesla was doing with its cabin space, and apparently, the screen might see use on future Prius models. But the real question is this – what’s driving this more premium approach from Toyota, and what will be the end result?

At a recent Prius Prime driving event in Ojai, California, Chief Engineer Koji Toyoshima addressed a question about the screen’s utilization elsewhere in the Toyota line. “We will consider perhaps to share [the larger screen] within the Prius lineup, but we haven’t thought about yet on utilizing it towards other Toyota models,” said Toyoshima-san, speaking through a translator.

Basically, it boils down to this – Toyota is testing the waters with the new Prime. If customers opt into the larger 11.6-inch screen (a 7.0-inch unit comes as standard), I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw it elsewhere in the lineup – including non-Prius models. It’s a trend that could expand very quickly.

The Prime is a perfect test bed for an upscale electrified passenger car from the Japanese automaker. Equipped with better materials and a more comfortable cabin space, this is the model to get if you want to be coddled in a Prius. And of course, there’s that available plus-sized screen.

So what’s driving this upscale approach, and where is it headed? Read on for our take.

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2016 Toyota uBox Concept

2016 Toyota uBox Concept

A purposeful concept designed by students

Toyota designers and engineers have spent the last two years collaborating with students at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research to design a new car. The project is called “Deep Orange” and, after two years of work, the team has designed, engineered, and hand-built what it is calling the uBox Concept. The project is intended to develop interested from the “next generation” of car buyers, dubbed Generation Z, and is designed to provide utility and recreation on the weekend but serve as an office space during the week.

Johnell Brooks, an Associate Professor in Clemson’s graduate engineering program, said, “Deep Orange gives students’ hands-on experience with the entire vehicle development process, from identifying the market opportunity through the vehicle build. It’s like automotive boot camp for the real world, and it wouldn’t happen without industry partners like Toyota.”

The uBox Concept made its debut on April 12th at the Society of Engineers World Congress and Exposition in Detroit, Michigan. It features an um… interesting design on the outside and a good portion of the interior components can be customized and created with 3D printing technology. All told, it isn’t a bad design for a group of students embarking on their first major design and engineering project, so let’s take a closer look at the uBox concept and see just how the students did.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Toyota uBox 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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Toyota Announces "Highway Teammate"

Toyota Announces "Highway Teammate"

Self-driving cars have been a popular topic lately. Google’s autonomous cars have been cruising around for a while now, and Chevy just announced plans to integrate a fleet of fully autonomous 2017 Chevy Volts into its Warren Technical Center Campus. Now, in a recent press release, Toyota revealed that it has been testing an self-driving Lexus GS on Tokyo’s Shuto Expressway.

The Lexus GS has been fitted with special sensors and the latest artificial intelligence programming that allows it to recognize hazards, make decisions, and take action. Once a driver enters the highway or passes through a toll booth, automated driving can be turned on, and the vehicle will maneuver through traffic without input from the driver. Say hello to Highway Teammate.

The special GS is the newest example of Toyota’s push to evolve the driver-car relationship and its development of advanced safety systems. Toyota will continue to develop the technology and hopes to make it so that mobility means safety, efficiency and freedom for everyone. Toyota plans to put vehicles like the Highway Teamate into production and release them into the market sometime around 2020.

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Toyota Investing $50 Million To Develop Smarter Cars

Toyota Investing $50 Million To Develop Smarter Cars

Toyota has just announced it will be investing in the development of artificial intelligence by financially backing research at Stanford and MIT. The $50 million investment will take place over a five-year period with the aim of advancing AI to make everyday life simpler and to advance autonomous vehicles.

“We’re here today to mark the beginning of an unprecedented commitment,” said Kiyotaka Ise, Toyota’s Senior Managing Officer and Chief Officer of R&D. “We will initially focus on the acceleration of intelligent vehicle technology, with the immediate goal of helping eliminate traffic casualties and the ultimate goal of helping improve quality of life through enhanced mobility and robotics."

Most notable in the automotive sector, this research and development has the goal of reducing traffic accidents by furthering vehicle-based technologies that mitigate and prevent crashes. Toyota’s vision is to eventually go beyond driver aides like adaptive cruise control or pre-collision braking to a more complete autonomous system.

Beyond the automotive segment, Toyota is also investing in the creation of robotics to help in everyday life. One key area of assistance Toyota points out is elderly care. Toyota has already created robots to help with physical therapy, so elder care is a logical next step. That’s no surprise considering the company’s long history of building robotics, a history that dates back to the 1970s.

The $50 million will be split evenly between Stanford University and MIT’s joint research centers located at both campuses.

Continue reading to learn more about the story.

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Toyota Mirai Gets Fueled by Haters Calling Bullsh*t

Toyota Mirai Gets Fueled by Haters Calling Bullsh*t

The world might not know it yet, but the Mirai is Toyota’s next big thing. It’s the hydrogen-powered car that takes the next step past the Prius. Despite all the advancements in the area of fuel cell technology, some analysts – Toyota says – are calling bullsh*t.

Interestingly enough, Toyota agrees with them – not that hydrogen cars are a bad idea, but that bullsh*t is a great source for creating hydrogen fuel. To demonstrate, Toyota is producing a video series called “Fueled by Everything,” in which the automaker explains the process of creating hydrogen while showing off its latest product.

Without spoiling the video’s plot or diving into science that’s way beyond my degree in journalism, manure can be turned into hydrogen using a digester that breaks down the cow pies, releasing biogas in the process. The gas is then collected and purified before being sent to a steam-methane reformer. From that reforming process comes pure hydrogen, which can then be used for fuel.

From that point, the news is all about the Mirai and how it produces power from hydrogen. For that run-down, check out our full 2016 Mirai review. The Readers’ Digest version is this: the hydrogen combines with oxygen inside the fuel cell and produces DC electrical current. It’s that electrical energy that’s used to power the Mirai’s electric motors.

So yes, Toyota can in fact, power the Mirai on bullsh*t.

Continue reading to learn more about Toyota’s latest "Fueled by Everything" Series.

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