Toyota has revealed ambitions to create driver assistance systems in the next five years that incorporate artificial intelligence (AI).
Reuters reported that Gill Pratt, chief executive of the Toyota Research Institute, said the carmaker aims to boost vehicle safety by enabling AI-powered systems to anticipate and avoid situations that put the car and driver at risk.
"Car safety is a near-term priority [and] I'm very confident that we will have some advances during the next five years," he said.
Toyota's research division will spend $1bn over the next five years to develop autonomous systems and keep pace with carmakers and technology companies as they create driverless cars.
Most driver assistance systems rely on image sensors, GPS and radar to carry out autonomous functions such as parking and adaptive cruise control. Toyota wants to add AI to these systems to make them smarter and able to work beyond the existing short range limitations.
"The intelligence of the car would figure out a plan for evasive action. Essentially [it would] be like a guardian angel, pushing on the accelerators, pushing on the steering wheel, pushing on the brake in parallel with you,” said Pratt.
AI and driverless cars would appear to make good bedfellows, as various AI systems are being used to automate processes in other areas of everyday life, such as IBM’s Watson AI cognitive computing technology being used in unmanned coffee shops in London.
Watson has also been added to a 3D-printed driverless car that can hold conversations with passengers.
Other car companies are also pushing the envelope with their autonomous systems. Jaguar Land Rover aims to create self-driving systems that mimic how humans drive.
And with driverless cars cleared for use on UK roads, it is only a matter of time before motorists start to see autonomous vehicles alongside them on motorways and major roads.
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