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Toyota aims to build autonomous car around 2020

Autoblog
10.07.15
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Toyota believes that it can make human inputs largely unnecessary from highway drives in vehicles by 2020. To prove what the company can do, the Lexus GS Highway Teammate concept shows the tech in action right now.The race is on to get increasingly sophisticated forms of autonomous driving technology on the road, and brands like Tesla are bringing these solutions to some drivers now. But as one of the world's largest automakers, it's no surprise to see Toyota competing in the field, as well. By 2020, the company thinks a person could be largely unnecessary for freeway trips. With a suite of tech called the Highway Teammate, a modified Lexus GS is already showing what's possible.

Using a combination of millimeter wave radar, LIDAR, and cameras, the GS gets a full view of the road, and software processes all of the info to make decisions. The result is a ride on the freeway without human interaction. The system can merge, change lanes, make passes, take curves, and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. Accurate map data is a necessity to make this work, so the system currently only being tested on Tokyo's Shuto Expressway.

While Highway Teammate might not be the best name, it accurately communicates the way Toyota thinks of the tech. The company is making big investments in artificial intelligence to assist drivers, not completely replace them. You can see the system in action in the video below, and the second clip's gravely serious narrator explains the company's idea of having a fully connected road someday.

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