Toyota Sees New Driving Technology Around 2015
By Yoshio Takahashi
TOKYO--Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.TO) said it plans to sell vehicles that can largely drive themselves on highways
around the middle of the current decade, as part of efforts to reduce accidents caused by driver error.
Safety is a key research area along with emission-cutting technology that many leading car makers hope will boost the
competitive edge of their vehicles in coming years, as it becomes increasingly tough to battle on a price level with
rival manufacturers from emerging markets.
With the announcement of the rough time frame for marketing the technology, Toyota joins its major global peers in the
rush to develop self-driving technology. Nissan Motor Co. (7201.TO) in August said it plans to bring fully autonomous
vehicles to the market by 2020.
U.S. internet search engine giant Google Inc. (GOOG), Daimler AG's (DDAIY) Mercedes-Benz brand and others are also
working on similar drive-by-wire technology.
Toyota's self-driving technology links an advanced cruise control system that communicates with nearby vehicles
wirelessly to maintain safe distances and a lane monitoring technology that helps a car's steering system keep it in its
lane on a highway.
Moritaka Yoshida, a Toyota managing officer in charge of safety technology, said that drivers will still need to
closely monitor the driving environment as it is only designed to help driving, not to support a completely automated
But the auto giant will continue to work on technology that can allow fully autonomous operations in Japan and the
U.S. as part of its research into safety. The company has no plans at present to mass market its entirely-automated
driving technology, Mr. Yoshida said.
Toyota's basic stance is that drivers should have ultimate control of a vehicle and the fun-to-drive feeling shouldn't
be compromised, he said, adding that completely automated vehicles might also end up facing legal and regulatory
The Japanese car maker plans to test its automated driving technology on highways in the Tokyo area starting Oct. 15.
Write to Yoshio Takahashi at firstname.lastname@example.org
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