Toyota AVOS (Automatic Vehicle Operation System), a self-driving version of the Prius
After the World Financial Crisis resulted in an agreement between manufacturers to limit their involvement in the 2009 Toyota Motor Show, it appears that next week’s 2011 Tokyo Motor Show will be bigger and more focused on the future than ever.
One of the more interesting areas is certain to be the Toyota Smart Mobility Park exhibit which will feature the Toyota AVOS (Automatic Vehicle Operation System), a self-driving version of the Prius. Back-seat test drives will be available at the show, demonstrating first hand how the Prius can avoid obstacles, be summoned from a parking garage and park itself.
There will also be a demonstration of communications-linked electric scooters and electric-assisted bicycles including what is expected to be Yamaha’s first production electric scooter.
The autonomous Prius is logically going to join the Toyota line-up at some stage in the future, as intelligent vehicles which are linked to each other and to the road infrastructure are inevitable if the world is to prevent the 1.3 million road deaths (and that number is growing alarmingly at present) that occur each year.
Humans are very bad at driving cars safely, and General Motors and Volkswagen Group (the second and third largest auto manufacturing groups) are already well advanced in autonomous vehicle development, so it was logical that Toyota begin demonstrating its expertise in what is certain to become a critical field over the next few years.
The Volkswagen-based “Stanley” won the second DARPA Grand Challenge for autonomous vehicles and General Motors backed Tartan Racing took out the more recent DARPA Urban Grand Challenge. The two are generally agreed to be at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development. Toyota’s experience with robotics development for its “Partner Robots” will no doubt help, so it will be interesting to see just how advanced the AVOS will be.
Toyota Motor Company’s display at Tokyo Motor Show will involve demonstrations of next generation ITS, Safety Equipment and automated driving. In particular, Toyota intends to demonstrate its vision in the field of “Vehicle-Infrastructure Cooperative Systems” linking vehicles on the road with each other and with the traffic infrastructure. One of the specific areas it has flagged which will be demonstrated is an accident mitigation system.
The Toyota Smart Mobility Park will be part of a special area of the Tokyo Motor Show entitled “Smart Mobility City 2011” which is being promoted to show what the city of the future will like, and how the transport infrastructure and power infrastructure will relate to each other.
Toyota and Yamaha have been working closely together in many areas for many years, with Yamaha music playing a role in ambient sound quietening technologies of Lexus vehicles, producing racing engines for Toyota using its MotoGP-derived expertise and technology sharing in a host of other areas, most notably electric vehicles.
At the 2009 Toyota Motor Show, the Lexus Pedal Electric racing pushbike was a direct result of intensive collaboration with Yamaha. This time around, it seems that Yamaha’s electric bicycles and what appears to be a Yamaha Electric scooter will appear side-by-side on Toyota’s stand as part of the linked vehicles display.
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