Toyota Driverless Cars Coming in 2020

The "Highway Teammate" prototype has already been on the road

Toyota's Highway Teammate zooms along. Source: Toyota
Toyota’s Highway Teammate zooms along. Source: Toyota

Toyota has been testing a new vehicle that operates without human interaction. Highway Teammate is a modified Lexus G6 capable of automated driving. It can merge onto highways, change lanes, and keep safe distances away from other vehicles.

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Highway Teammate is the prototype for a line of driverless cars that Toyota plans to launch in 2020. These vehicles will use on-board technology to evaluate and monitor traffic and road conditions, and they’ll be able to take action based on these evaluations during highway driving.

Toyota refers to its driverless technology as “automated operation.” Highway Teammate’s automated operation can be enabled once a driver passes a toll gate and is on a highway. External sensors on the test vehicle recognize the proximity of other vehicles as well as any potential road hazards. Using this data, Highway Teammate steers, accelerates, and brakes on its own.

Highway Teammate is part of Toyota’s Mobility Teammate Concept, the automaker’s strategy for developing driverless vehicles. Toyota focuses on three features in developing these cars:

  • 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 and transfer of control between driver and car, etc.)

Also, Google recently launched a fleet of self-driving cars. These vehicles use a combination of sensors and software to monitor road and street conditions. The company developed a vehicle that has no steering wheel or brakes and, instead, uses sensors and lasers for operation. The electric cars also have a rounded, compact shape to maximize the sensor’s field of view.

So far, Google’s cars have logged over one million miles of travel. They are currently in self-piloted test drives throughout the streets of Mountain View, California, and Austin, Texas.

Check out Toyota’s Highway Teammate in action below.



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