(ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com)

Toyota Research Institute and Stanford University’s Dynamic Design Lab Study How to Improve Automotive Safety

Originally published on pressroom.toyota.com.

Inspired by the Skills of Professional Drift Drivers, Research Seeks to Combine the Technology of Vehicle Automation with Artificial Intelligence Algorithms

What if every driver who ran into trouble had the instinctive reflexes of a professional race car driver and the calculated foresight of a supercomputer to avoid a crash? Researchers at Toyota Research Institute are working with Stanford’s Dynamic Design Lab to make this vision come true.

The engineers are conducting research into how to bring together the instincts of professional drivers and automated driving technology. Their goal is to design a new level of active safety technology and share it broadly so that Toyota (No. 10 on 2020 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) and other auto manufacturers can deploy it on the road.

“Every day, there are deadly vehicle crashes that result from extreme situations where most drivers would need superhuman skills to avoid a collision,” said Gill Pratt, TRI CEO and Chief Scientist at Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC). “The reality is that every driver has vulnerabilities, and to avoid a crash, drivers often need to make maneuvers that are beyond their abilities. Through this project, TRI will learn from some of the most skilled drivers in the world to develop sophisticated control algorithms that amplify human driving abilities and keep people safe. This is the essence of the Toyota Guardian™ approach.”

Every year, car crashes result in nearly 40,000 fatalities in the United States, and about 1.25 million fatalities worldwide. Toyota’s goal is to reduce that number to zero. While most crashes occur in mundane situations, in other situations drivers may need to make maneuvers that take their vehicle close to and, at times, exceed normal limits of handling. When faced with wet or slippery roads for instance, professional drivers may choose to ‘drift’ the car through a turn.

“Since 2008, our lab has taken inspiration from human race car drivers in designing algorithms that enable automated vehicles to handle the most challenging emergencies,” said Professor Chris Gerdes of Stanford University’s Dynamic Design Laboratory.  “Through this research, we have the opportunity to move these ideas much closer to saving lives on the road.”

TRI has supported the Dynamic Design Lab’s research for many years. The current project draws upon Stanford’s published paper, “Opening New Dimensions: Vehicle Motion Planning and Control using Brakes while Drifting,” in which Stanford researchers demonstrated advanced drifting on MARTY, an electrified, automated DeLorean. Stanford’s experimental results produced a proof-of-concept architecture capable of controlling a rear-wheel drive vehicle in a drift using brakes, steering and propulsion. TRI is now applying this architecture to vehicle platforms, including the GR Supra.

TRI is also engaging Toyota’s engineering expertise in motorsports and advanced development. Toyota Racing Development (TRD U.S.A., Inc.) in the United States is providing valuable technical and experiential know-how in motorsports and drifting. Separately, TRI is also working with Toyota Motor Corporation’s Vehicle Dynamics Control Team — based in Japan — to apply the drifting architecture for future Toyota vehicles.

 

Latest News

Creating Pay Equity and Equal Treatment for Employees

Even though the disparity in pay has been a high-profile issue for decades, it remains a concern for businesses across every industry. HR professionals and business leaders continue to search for ways to create pay equity between genders and those of different ethnic and racial backgrounds. Some may face mandates…

5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: August 11

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience. 1. Eli Lilly Plans…

The Importance of Business-Community Partnerships

Businesses increasingly play a key role in building stronger communities. It’s something that people in the past few years have come to expect. It’s created not only a way to improve local communities, but also boost an organization’s employee morale, loyalty and brand reputation. One of the main ways businesses…

CDO Series: Humana’s Carolyn Tandy

Following the murder of George Floyd, the role of Chief Diversity Officers has become more important as companies started to be more intentional with their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, which has made the last few years tumultuous for many CDOs. In the first interview of a series of articles…

The Importance of Education-Focused Community Partnerships

Community partnerships focused on education are vital to creating and improving the network that connects diverse, underrepresented students and young professionals with employers seeking new talent. For Stephanie Turner, VP of Inclusion, Diversity and Social Innovation at MITRE, advocation starts at the root of education: grade school curriculum, especially in…