Toyota has introduced the hybrid P4 concept car that includes increased accident protection that is much “smarter” than its predecessor. Toyota says that with greater computing power, its systems can operate more machine learning algorithms in parallel for faster learning. They say it can process sensor inputs faster and react more quickly to the surrounding environment.
The technology was created by the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) as part of their autonomous vehicle R&D. P4 adds two additional cameras to improve situational awareness on the sides and two new imaging sensors – one facing forward and one pointed to the rear – specifically designed for autonomous vehicles.
Additionally, the imaging sensors feature new chip technology with high dynamic range. The radar system has been optimized to improve the field of view, especially for close range detection around the vehicle perimeter. The LIDAR sensing system with eight scanning heads carries over from the previous test model, Platform 3.0, and morphs into the new vehicle design.
“If we are able to reduce technology that theoretically can reduce fatalities by ten-fold or perhaps even a hundred-fold we can make consumers and society safer,” says Bob Carter, Toyota North America Executive Vice President.
Bob Carter, North America Executive Vice President of Toyota, discussed the new Guardian technology at length on Fox Business:
Toyota P4 Concept Car With Guardian Technology
This is I believe our fourth or fifth year where we’re introducing our newest technology, particularly in the autonomous driving area, here at the Consumer Electronics Show. The vehicle we are introducing today is a concept car called P4. It’s our fourth platform. We are introducing what we call our Guardian technology. Guardian is considered the co-pilot sitting in the passenger seat for you.
We are going to demonstrate to the media today where we actually experience an accident on Interstate 80. What the Guardian technology does, it’s an offshoot of development for fully autonomous, is it monitors all the conditions around the car all the time. In the example of this one unfortunate accident that nobody was hurt in one car drifted into its lane into another car and then pushed it into the guardrail. This is a very typical situation.
Guardian Technology Takes Control Prior to Accidents
Our Guardian technology senses that and then momentarily takes the controls from the driver. This includes acceleration, braking, and steering. It can navigate the car out of the area of the accident and then immediately hand back the controls to the driver. The end result is that the driver is still in control of the car. He has the enjoyment of driving, yet in in unforeseen circumstance, technology can take over to avoid the accident.
It was developed by the Toyota Research Institute that we have in the Silicon Valley. They’re working on a number of different technologies for the future that we believe are really going to enhance the safety of society in the future. Unfortunately, it’s are something that does happen. In North America last year there were 40,000 fatalities on our roads.
Guardian Technology May Reduce Fatalities by Ten-Fold
If we are able to reduce technology that theoretically can reduce fatalities by ten-fold or perhaps even a hundred-fold we can make consumers and society safer. In fact, we are so convinced that this technology is the correct path for the future that we are opening up to other auto manufacturers. We would love to see every vehicle on the road today have this sort of technology available for consumers.
Last year, there were 17.2 million vehicles sold. Approximately one percent of those were full battery electric vehicles. We have a very robust system we use with hybrids which is a combination of our gasoline engines and electric. These have been on the market since 1997. We think it is going to take some time for the market to advance but later on next decade we believe electrification will become mainstream in the North American market.