Our Technology

The future promises widespread deployment of self-driving technology. A wide variety of vehicles will share the road, from partially-autonomous personal vehicles to fully-automated long-haul trucks. Revolutionary UI/UX technologies will enable practical and intuitive interaction, unified across all vehicle types and automation levels.

Toyota has been researching and developing automated driving technologies since the 1980s. Our focus: ensure that the self-driving revolution is put into the service of people. We aim to realize full freedom of movement for all, and the complete elimination of traffic casualties. Here’s how we will get there.


Highway Teammate 


Automated driving on highways


With Highway Teammate (HT), Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development, Inc. (TRI-AD) will deploy self-driving technologies to improve safety in the here and now. HT enables complete automated driving on highways, from on-ramp to off-ramp. This includes merging onto highways, maintaining safe inter-vehicle distances, changing lanes, and taking exits. TRI-AD will launch products based on Highway Teammate in 2020.

How it works. The design of HT follows the self-driving philosophy of TRI-AD. At the core is the relationship between people and cars: close trustworthy friends who watch out for each other, always ready to help out.

In typical operation, the driver engages automated driving mode after entering a highway on-ramp. HT is prepared, having already pinpointed its position using highly accurate road map data. It automatically selects appropriate routes and lanes, and safely operates steering, acceleration, and braking. Meanwhile, the vehicle sensor array supplies a continuous stream of data inputs, enabling HT to recognize nearby vehicles and hazards, and safely adapt to their presence. At the appropriate time, a smooth handoff process ensures the driver is fully focused and ready to continue the journey.


Toyota Guardian

The next level in safety


TRI-AD’s Toyota Guardian™ technology will be the next level of safe, reliable driving. Invisibly and unobtrusively, Toyota Guardian will observe the road conditions and your reactions, throughout the entire journey. Its goal: to keep you safe, and to unify car with driver.

Toyota Guardian will act with subtle nuance, improving your situational awareness and sharpening your driving skills. With every trip, the connection between you and your car becomes stronger. Meanwhile, you can be confident that you and your loved ones will get home safely.

How it works. The Toyota Guardian algorithm will leverage the power of Toyota’s worldwide sensor data network. It is planned to be trained and updated on an endless stream of simulated and real-world driving scenarios. Armed with this active, living memory and the advanced sensor array of your Toyota vehicle, Toyota Guardian rapidly recognizes scenarios and matches them to a set of optimal driving parameters. It also continuously prepares for the unexpected by maintaining “exit strategies” and monitoring driver drowsiness. Throughout the drive, Toyota Guardian’s intuitive interface keeps you informed and focused, improving skill and awareness.

Toyota Guardian will also extend the driver’s vision by illuminating obstacles in their path. In the image on the right, the motion of one pedestrian makes it likely they will cross into the path of the vehicle. Toyota Guardian both alerts the driver through clear visual and audio cues, and also calculates the safest path to avoid an accident. Expanding awareness is one way Toyota Guardian creates a partnership with the driver.



Complete automation


Chauffeur is TRI-AD’s fully-automated driving system. It combines Toyota’s renowned reliability and craftsmanship with the exciting possibilities of self-driving. It is a bridge from the here-and-now to the ultimate future: the completely autonomous, perfectly safe vehicle.

When Chauffeur takes complete responsibility for all driving tasks, you can relax. Use this newfound time as you like. Work on the go, chat with loved ones, play your favorite game. All in complete safety. At the end of the journey, you will arrive refreshed and ready to go.

How it works. Chauffeur will be designed with state-of-the-art reliable software engineering practices. It will be trained with advanced machine learning algorithms, on data collected over millions of miles of roads across the entire world. The result: an automated driving system with the unerring precision of an airliner autopilot, equipped with the combined experience and wisdom gained from every mile driven by the entire fleet of Toyota vehicles. Rest easy, this ultimate driver will know exactly how to handle every conceivable situation on the road ahead.


TDS : Toyota Design System

The future of User Experience


The automated driving revolution demands a dramatic rethinking of the user experience. A few buttons and a screen will not suffice in the age of self-driving. They must give way to a wide range of powerful new interfaces and experiences, adapted to the user for every manner of partially- and fully-automated vehicle of the future.

The Toyota Design System (TDS) is a global unified approach to creating a complete range of user experiences with a common design language. Imagine the possibilities. A racing interface in a Guardian-equipped rally car delivers road, race, and car data rapidly and succinctly, with minimal distractions. In a mobile office driven by Chauffeur, a personalized interface enables a seamless workflow, maximizing productivity and efficiency. A long-distance Chauffeur-equipped taxi offers a thrilling entertainment system equipped with wraparound screens and the latest games — or a quiet, calming ride with all of your favorite personalized settings. All done with a common design language you know and love.

How it works. A TDS driving interface will augment the user’s car interior with both physical and UI-based modalities. Our intuitive, signature style will ensure you can quickly find your way around any Toyota. The interface will vary naturally according to the car model and function: functional and utilitarian in a pickup truck, ergonomic and elegant in a luxury sedan. At the same time, all aspects of the experience will be personalized to you, the user. A smartphone app maintains all your preferences, and ensures instant customization the moment you enter any Toyota vehicle.



Our Vision for the Future of Mapping

Since antiquity, when sea routes and land routes were perilous for people and goods, having up to date and highly accurate maps have been a requirement for safe travel. These maps were patchworks of military sketches, captain logs and merchant updates, and over the centuries became more and more detailed. In an era of increasing vehicle automation, having up-to-date and highly accurate maps is equally critical to ensuring safe vehicle operation both on the highway and on surface roads. These maps work as a virtual on-board sensor connected to other vehicle sensors in other vehicles in realtime, allowing on-board sensors to understand the context of the world around them and provide a reference model for decision-making beyond the sensor range.

Typically a vehicle system will have a preloaded map database on the vehicle that can support localization (understanding where the car is at any point in time), path planning (drawing a course onto the local road network in realtime to get to your destination safely) and vehicle operation (triggering actuator actions that will move the vehicle to the planned location precisely). If there are new maps available and the vehicle is connected to the internet, new maps will be downloaded and updated locally, then used to update other vehicle functions. Ideally this will be done over mobile internet, but as few vehicles are connected today, this is usually accomplished via USB at the dealer or in some cases over wifi.

So today we need to build high definition maps that can be read quickly and efficiently by machines. Yet map building remains an exhaustive and highly manual process, meaning realtime high definition map updates often propagate through to the user with a delay of months or years from the date when they were collected, rendering them useless beyond limited driver assist functions. Furthermore data resides in silos across industries, and also within industries, such as within OEM or fleet management IT infrastructures, making the sharing of data difficult. With the explosion in the number of vehicle sensors, ECUs and increasing richness of output data, the exponential growth of data availability has not led to an exponential growth in user benefit or revenue. Increasingly data is being seen as cost rather than an opportunity. As a result, each dataset is limited to often stale data releases focused on certain areas in certain countries where each of these companies offer their services.

Traditional high definition map sourcing and development requires the developer to license data in the $100s per vehicle lifetime (depending on the number of vehicles), while implemention typically requires millions of dollars for map and map system customization that is often not reusable across vehicles. Road coverage remains sparse, hugging the main highway arteries in a handful of countries. The combination of minimal coverage, stale data and massive cost effectively restricts the benefit of automation to a small percentage of developers in the largest companies with the largest R&D budgets.

In addition, due to increasingly strict regulation around the management of data, processing, storing and extracting value from data is increasingly onerous on the developer. And many more tasks are necessary to provide safe map provision to the vehicle including but not limited to: building maps from data, machine learning for data cleansing, integrating new data with original data, designing IT infrastructures to cope with ups and downs in data throughput, and devising different map update schemes for different vehicle platforms. Very few of these processes are automated, and very few of these processes can provide value to a business’ bottom line. It is time for a new paradigm.

Our new vision for the future of mapping is called the Automated Map Platform or "AMP". It is an open software platform that is based on a contribution model: participating developers accept that vehicles deploying their application or software contribute anonymized sensor data to the platform. In return, every developer has easy, safe, open and sustainable access to high definition maps from across industries, fleets and car makers. One-stop-shop open APIs that allow developers to focus on building software. No need to worry about specific map implementations and maintenance, just pull down the data needed whenever it is needed. Updated maps will use mainstream camera data, the map update and building process will be increasingly automated, and satellite imagery will be help build out a global road network where vehicles are not present in sufficient numbers to support a data pipeline.

We hope this new vision will help startups accelerate their development of automated driving applications into the market. It will help developers and city planners increase the efficiency and automation of city center mobility, a massive issue across the world especially in developed as well as emerging economies. It will help support the revitalization of rural mobility where the economics of running public services have led to rail and bus lines shutting down in Japan as well as many other countries. This cuts off rural communities from critical social infrastructure from food to healthcare and education. And it will help increase the benefit of lower levels of automation (otherwise known as advanced driver assistance systems or ADAS) to help relieve driver stress, as well as help prevent cases of mistaken acceleration, mistaken entry into the highway, and collision prevention in case of vehicle misoperation or misinterpretation.

Yet AMP is still a vision not a product. And day to day we continue working on improving traditional mapping systems for next generation automated driving systems to launch in 2020 and beyond. But a shift towards automating map production which will lead to fresher maps, lower costs and broader coverage including surface roads in the future. If all this sounds exciting, join us! We have started hiring GIS veterans, machine learning and image processing engineers, dev ops specialists, data scientists, and mapping experts into our new Tokyo office. Ideally you’ll have international experience in both large and startup environments. Japanese language skills are nice to have but optional, English is a must. Most importantly we need your passion to help accelerate this vision into reality. And achieve the vision of mobility for all, no matter where you are.


Driver and Passenger Monitoring System

The driver monitoring system has been developed as a necessary technology to monitor the driver's condition when in automated driving mode. This technology goes far beyond the remit of automated driving. With the Guardian function assisting the driver while enjoying the freedom of driving independently, and a host of services tailored towards passenger comfort, the driver monitoring system takes the driving experience to an entirely new level.

The services include:

1) Assisted driving and passenger safety

2) Comfort tailored to individual passenger seating posture

3) Personalization Service

4) Advanced Human Machine Interface

5) MaaS for passengers, cabin condition management

TRI-AD's Driver and Passenger Monitoring System continues to evolve bringing comfortable mobility tailored to individual preferences and characteristics, and seamless services that include before and after travel.

How it works. To achieve Toyota's Highway Teammate Concept, “building relationships between people and cars that share the same purpose, like close friends who watch over each other, and when in need, help each other out,” the Driver and Passenger Monitoring System plays an essential role.

Through face and posture recognition, TRI-AD's Driver and Passenger Monitoring AI can not only monitor the driver’s eyes and signs of sleepiness, but can also read emotions and intentions, and support safe and secure driving. Driver and Passenger Monitoring AI is not only aware of the driver but also the passengers, and the conditions inside the car all at the same time, realizing a new UX for the MaaS era.

The evolution of Driver and Passenger Monitoring AI requires a wide variety of data, and in addition to technological development that efficiently collects and analyzes a large amount of data, fundamental human subject research is also important, such as differences in self-expression, taking into consideration the diversity of culture, as well as clothing and light environments.

By better understanding human characteristics, TRI-AD believes that you will be able to customize your very own dream car and driving experience.

Driver Monitoring