Toyota's taking a different approach to creating the self-driving cars of our future. Unlike other automakers and tech giants that have already begun investing time and resources into the space, the Japanese company's developing a partially autonomous system to occasionally take the wheel. According to MIT Technology Review, the "guardian angel" feature, which is under development at Toyota Research Institute, would only temporarily take control from the driver during potentially hazardous moments.
Toyota's hybridized take on self-driving comes in the wake of research that suggests drivers can take about eight seconds or more to readjust and gain control of a formerly fully autonomous vehicle. The "guardian angel" system could alleviate that disconnect by activating only to avoid a collision, much like automatic braking does.
Testing for this new system will soon be underway at a TRI location near Mt. Fuji in Japan, although the company also intends to run simulations at its US-based research facilities. To clear the system for eventual use in commercial vehicles, Toyota will first need to amass a trillion miles worth of road testing. And it's hoping to do this with a combination of simulations and real-world driving. Further testing will also be carried out at TRI's three US-based facilities, one of which is currently under construction.