Technology companies and automakers are competing with each other in coming up with self driving cars which is able to combine both the safety and the joy of driving. Aligned with this effort, some of traditional automakers such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have acquired Nokia’s Here mapping unit to provide drivers with the most accurate map in order to enhance the self driving functionality. Even technology companies such as Google or Apple is also coming up with their version of autonomous cars by partnering with other automakers.
Toyota, recently announced that the company is going to invest $50 million at a press conference in Palo Alto to speed up the research on artificial intelligence technology to be implemented in the self-driving vehicles. The company also reported to partner with Stanford and MIT as well as invited Dr. Gill Pratt, who led the Robotics Challenge at Defence Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), to lead the project. Professor Daniela Rus will lead the research centre in MIT. Recently she led a project to test self driving golf carts in Singapore.
Kiyotaka Ise, Toyota’s Senior Managing Officer, said that the primary goal of the research is to help eliminate traffic causalities especially among the elderly as mobility becomes a challenge for them. On top of that, he mentioned that the research is targeted at improving the ability of intelligent vehicle technologies to recognize objects around the vehicle in diverse environments, provide elevated judgement of surrounding conditions, and safely collaborate with vehicle occupants, other vehicles and pedestrians.
The difference between the research that Toyota and other companies has done on self driving cars is that Toyota would prefer to combine the joy of mobility as well as allowing the car to be safer, more efficient and even more fun to drive. Although the company does not have a great record on that area, but in the past few year, it is getting better and we look forward to the end result.