Toyota autonomous driving relies on friendly teamwork.

ToyotamobiliyteamToyota’s Highway Teammate autonomous car is being tested in the hopes that the company will have a self-driving car around 2020. The company wants humans to enjoy driving or let the their mobility/highway teammate drive when requested.

Toyota believes that interactions between drivers and cars should mirror those between friends. Toyota refers to this approach as the Mobility Teammate Concept, and Highway Teammate.

Highway Teammate, a modified Lexus GS, uses on-board technology to evaluate traffic conditions, make decisions and take action during highway driving. This includes merging onto or exiting highways, maintaining or changing lanes, and maintaining inter-vehicle distances.

To engage automated operation, the driver switches to automated driving after entering a highway on-ramp. Highway Teammate is able to pinpoint its position using highly accurate road map data. It also uses multiple external sensors to recognize nearby vehicles and hazards, and selects appropriate routes and lanes depending on the destination. Based on these data inputs, Highway Teammate then automatically operates the steering wheel, accelerator, and brakes to achieve the appropriate speed and driving lines in much the same way as a person would drive.

Toyota uses the name Mobility Teammate Concept to refer to its approach to automated driving: building relationships between people and cars that share the same purpose, like close friends who sometimes watch over each other and sometimes help each other out. This approach acknowledges the utility of automated driving technologies while maintaining the fun experience of driving itself.

Toyota believes there are three types of intelligence that are crucial to the success of the Mobility Teammate Concept:

  • Driving Intelligence -advanced recognition and predictive decision-making functions.
  • Connected Intelligence- vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, as exemplified by the recently announced ITS Connect system.
  • Interactive Intelligence – recognition of driver status, transfer of control between driver, car and more.

Toyota will enhance its development of these automated driving technologies with the aim of achieving a society where mobility means safety, efficiency and freedom.