Toyota unveils cars with auto pilot

Oct 11, 2013
Toyota Motor demonstrates its "pre-collision system", which uses automatic steering in addition to automatic braking to prevent collisions, in Tokyo, October 10, 2013

Toyota on Friday unveiled the next generation of cars featuring an auto pilot system that will swerve to avoid collisions and also keep to the middle of the road, all without drivers touching the wheel.

The Japanese giant autos using the self-driving technology could be available on the market in just a few years' time.

"These advanced driving support technologies prevent human errors, reduce driving stress and help avert accidents, which has a big potential to reduce the number of traffic deaths," Toyota managing director Moritaka Yoshida said at a presentation in Tokyo.

Leading automakers and technology firms, including Toyota, rival Nissan and Internet giant Google, have been working on self-driving and assisted-driving technology for years.

Toyota, the world's biggest automaker, said that while drivers would still need to be alert and take part in the driving process, it essentially lets them put the vehicle on , leaving most of the work to the computer system.

The Automated Highway Driving Assist (AHDA) system lets vehicles communicate wirelessly to avoid running into each other while keeping the car in the middle of the road lane—no matter how many twists and turns lie ahead.

Toyota Motor demonstrates the advanced driving support system "Automated Highway Driving Assist" in Tokyo, October 10, 2013

"Cars with these technologies recognise the accelerating or slowing speed of those ahead, which also helps avoid traffic jams," said project manager Mitsuhisa Shida. "They can wirelessly exchange data once every 0.1 seconds."

The company plans to install AHDA in its commercial models over the next few years.

Toyota has already introduced the pre-collision braking assist system in its Lexus luxury sedan and plans to install it in other models by 2015, with the other technologies to follow.

Many cars already have systems that gives drivers a panoramic view to keep watch for nearby objects while parking itself.

The latest collision-avoidance system has doubled the detection time of oncoming objects to four seconds from a previous two seconds, Toyota added.

The automaker said such advances would be especially helpful for older people. Japan's society is rapidly ageing with over-65s already making up around a quarter of the 128 million-strong population.

Explore further: For Google's self-driving cars, learning to deal with the bizarre is essential

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User comments : 20

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Eikka
2.4 / 5 (12) Oct 11, 2013
Question is, will the traffic become safer when people start to rely on driving assists and forget how to drive?

http://www.youtub...AcyMFtMA

A big problem with automatic steering systems is that if it doesn't notify the driver in advance, the sudden violent braking or swerving will put the driver out of their wits and cause them to crash the car moments later anyways.

If you're familiar with stick shift cars and don't use your left foot to brake, try this on a closed road: take the speed up to 60 kph and then try to make a full stop brake with your left foot. I can guarantee you will find yourself hanging by the seatbelts in surprise because the braking force comes unexpected.
dogbert
1.3 / 5 (15) Oct 11, 2013
These so called innovations are very dangerous and will doubtless cause many accidents -- killing people who would otherwise have remained alive and in good health.

The manufacturers of the vehicles are unlikely to be blamed for the injuries and deaths and are certain to deny culpability.

Nothing in the literature suggests that any of these dangerous systems can be disabled.

Take care of your older cars. They are going to become more important.
QuixoteJ
1.4 / 5 (11) Oct 11, 2013
These things are the worst idea yet to come out of this "E" "Mobile Tech" "i" "forget how to think" age we are in. Anyone who starts driving these things is a complete idiot. Autopilot is for airplanes that are operated by trained, certified pilots, and there is always the option TO TURN IT OFF. This will eventually be nothing more than a way for someone else to make your car stop when you don't want it to. Ugh!

Listen to dogbert in the above post: Take care of your older cars. Drive them as long as you can.
MikeBowler
1.5 / 5 (8) Oct 11, 2013
the worst thing about these cars is that while some will choose not to buy them those same people will still eventually encounter one on the road and possibly end up in an accident with one
CreepyD
2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 11, 2013
The auto lane guidance letting you have no hands on the wheel sounds dangerous, especially for long journeys.
You'll end up getting very bored and not be ready to take over if needed.

Similar to swerving, that could completely catch you by surprise and I agree you'll probably crash right after anyway.

These cars either need to be totally in control, or not at all. There can be no grey area on who is controlling the vehicle!
Agomemnon
2.2 / 5 (13) Oct 11, 2013
I for one welcome our new robot driving cars.
Every day, especially going home, I see more people looking at their cell phone than at the road. Texting instead of driving and so on.

I trust the robot to drive safely than the average american driver.
Now if a robotic car does suddensly swerver the vehicle into an embankment killing the driver, we can rest assured it was a rational logical decision and not because the driver was looking at mobile porn.
Eikka
1 / 5 (9) Oct 11, 2013
I trust the robot to drive safely than the average american driver.


I don't.

Even the best visual recognition AI systems only manage about 70% object recognition rates in a static environment, and the false positive rate is yet another 40% of that, meaning our current crop of robots can't really tell a person from a road sign if the person is holding an umbrella, but will also sometimes see a person or a sign when there's nothing there.

That's why the robotic cars work by radar, either laser or microwave, and try to guess what things are by where they are and how they move, and that's a very limited way of seeing. The robots are effectively blind, going around feeling the place like a blind person with a clicker and a cane.

ZachB
1 / 5 (5) Oct 11, 2013
There looks to be a dent in the grill of the vehicle... what about that?
Agomemnon
1.4 / 5 (10) Oct 11, 2013
I trust the robot to drive safely than the average american driver.


I don't.

Even the best visual recognition AI systems only manage about 70% object recognition rates in a static environment, and the false positive rate is yet another 40% of that, meaning our current crop of robots can't really tell a person from a road sign if the person is holding an umbrella, but will also sometimes see a person or a sign when there's nothing there.

That's why the robotic cars work by radar, either laser or microwave, and try to guess what things are by where they are and how they move, and that's a very limited way of seeing. The robots are effectively blind, going around feeling the place like a blind person with a clicker and a cane.


I'm wondering what the recognition rate is for people?
ScottyB
1 / 5 (4) Oct 11, 2013
i presume the auto lane functions will be over written if you touch the steering wheel in the same way that cruise control is turned off when you break, change gears. I am a petrol head and have an old car that has none of these features but also a newer car that does have some and i can see BIG benefits to having these, especially with dopes people who read their phones while driving and have an accident because they weren't paying attention.

technophobes make me laugh
shavera
1 / 5 (1) Oct 11, 2013
Most of these cars do have very explicit "turn off the auto-drive/drive-help" feature that the above luddites claim don't exist. Some are even a literal big-red-button in the middle of the console.
Eikka
1.6 / 5 (7) Oct 11, 2013
I'm wondering what the recognition rate is for people?


However poor it is, the error correction rate is at least adequate to drive a car.

You should see the DARPA challenges where they make cars navigate a dirt road by GPS coordinates, and the car itself has to decide where exactly and how it is safe to drive. The technical challenge of merely telling the road apart from the ditch is surprisingly tough because the computer doesn't actually understand what it's seeing.

It's all a jumble of numbers, and from that the computer is supposed to tell a rock from a tree without ever knowing what those things even mean!
Eikka
1.4 / 5 (9) Oct 11, 2013
i can see BIG benefits to having these, especially with dopes people who read their phones while driving and have an accident because they weren't paying attention.


The car can't tell e.g. whether an animal or a person standing by the road is about to cross the street, or whether a swerving car ahead can potentially end up spinning out in front of you, so there's little value in an autopilot if you don't keep constant watch on what's actually happening.

So the end effect is that you trundle along happily, tapping your iPhone and suddenly find yourself with a whiplash injury to the neck because the car did an emergency brake to avoid a plastic bag thrown around by the wind.
tadchem
1.1 / 5 (9) Oct 11, 2013
I can't help but think of the many horror stories passed around involving people who blindly relied on their cars' GPS systems, maps, and directions - and wound up at a cliff edge, going down a boat ramp, driving onto the MTBA tracks, or worse.
jmlvu
1 / 5 (6) Oct 11, 2013
Alot of people crashed when they started installing anti lock breaks. The same will happen with cars that autostop. I hope the auto makers have enough sense to add technologies that make sure people have thier eyes open and a hand on the wheel.
LagomorphZero
1.7 / 5 (11) Oct 11, 2013
I'm wondering what the recognition rate is for people?


The recognition rate will go up once the cars get a taste for human blood!
EyeNStein
1 / 5 (9) Oct 11, 2013
The auto-drive will not recognise possibilities a human driver would:-
Weighing a risk like accelerating into an adjacent lane to avoid an oncoming vehicle in your lane.
OR
Choosing to sacrifice an animal which runs into the road to protect a human life.
These are value judgements a computer will not be able to make for many many years.
djr
5 / 5 (2) Oct 11, 2013
Scottyb: "technophobes make me laugh"

Agreed with your post Scotty - technophobes make me cry - just reading the idiocy on this thread alone can be very discouraging. The auto makers have huge liability tied up in this and every other technological development - of course they are going to test every scenario - the whole idea is to improve safety.
alfie_null
5 / 5 (3) Oct 12, 2013
These so called innovations are very dangerous and will doubtless cause many accidents -- killing people who would otherwise have remained alive and in good health.

Take care of your older cars. They are going to become more important.

These things called automobiles are very dangerous and will doubtless cause many accidents -- killing people who would otherwise would have remained alive and in good health.

Take care of your horses. They are going to become more important.
alfie_null
5 / 5 (3) Oct 12, 2013
Just one more thought: what percentage of automobile accidents are caused by human factors? Hint: it's more than 90%.

Considering DUI statistics and the recent do-something-else-while-driving multitasking phenomenon, getting people to be better drivers is a losing battle. Whereas driverless technology, even if it starts poorly (which is unlikely to be the case), has nowhere to go but up.

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