Toyota Motor Corp announced that the company planned to make their self driving cars to be able to fully operate on highways by 2020. On top of that, the company seems to shift the term that they used to describe their new system from advanced driver support to automated driving. The new system will be able to allow vehicles to get on and off the highway and change lanes without driver input.
Masahiro Iwasaki, an engineer who involves in the project mentioned that they were afraid that by using the term ‘automated driving’, people would misunderstood that humans were not involved at all. He added that since most automakers as well as technology companies which also coming up with autonomous cars used the terms a lot, Toyota, being the biggest automaker by unit sales realized that they needed to differentiate themselves. However, he also mentioned that their goal remained the same which is to improve mobility and decrease accidents.
Iwasaki further mentioned that according to Toyota, there are two ways in realizing the technology, one is to build a fully autonomous driving cars, like what Toyota and Google are currently doing, the other one is to build a more reliable, semiautonomous technologies which most probably able to be released into the public market in the next few years, hopefully earlier than the autonomous car release date.
Toyota’s prototype car works such that the car able to switch to automatic driving mode when the driver pressed on the button at the highway entrance and it is able to drive itself along the highway as well as switch lanes. When it exists via an off-ramp, there will be an announcement that the automated mode is over and required the driver to take control of the car again. Therefore, it is not fully autonomous.