As we move ever closer to self-driving cars reaching the mass market, car makers are hard at work developing the technologies that will keep drivers safe. One of the most fascinating of the bunch has to be Toyota’s “guardian angel” system, which can take control of a vehicle in order to protect the driver.
Toyota, whose vehicles travel 1 trillion kilometers every year, won’t sit idly by witnessing how Google, Apple, and Tesla shape the future of self-driving cars. The Japanese giant confirmed it’ll invest no less than $1 billion over five years into a new Silicon Valley-based company whose sole purpose will be to develop artificial intelligence products, focusing on self-driving cars. More →
Though CarPlay was originally introduced at WWDC 2013, Apple’s iOS based infotainment system hasn’t exactly taken the world by storm. This is partially due to the fact that the auto industry tends to move at a snail’s pace relative to the tech industry. Compounding matters is the fact that some companies aren’t exactly sold on CarPlay in the first place.
These days when we think of wireless charging we think about using an accessory for our cell phones. Not long from now we may be using the same tech to power our electric vehicles. According to CNET, Toyota has invested in a company called WiTricity that, until now, has developed wireless charging solutions specifically for portable electronics. In a recent statement Toyota said that it “believes that resonance wireless charging is suitable for automobiles and aims for its early practical use.” Using magnetic near-field, WiTricity could potentially offer a wireless charging solution for cars, too. We’re imagining a future where, instead of pulling up to the pump, or plugging your electric car into an outlet, you simply need to drive into your garage to begin charging. “WiTricity power sources and capture devices are specially designed magnetic resonators that efficiently transfer power over large distances via the magnetic near-field. These proprietary source and device designs and the electronic systems that control them support efficient energy transfer over distances that are many times the size of the sources/devices themselves,” the firm said. Other companies, like HaloIPT, also offer wireless car-charging solutions, but this is the first we’ve heard of a major car manufacturer getting on board. More →
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with the aid of NASA engineers, concluded that the electronics systems found in Toyota’s vehicles was, in all likelihood, not the cause of unintended acceleration. In 2009 and 2010, the Japanese car manufacturer recalled nearly 8 million cars after drivers began reporting sudden and unprovoked acceleration from their vehicles.
“Our conclusion- that Toyota’s problems were mechanical, not electrical – comes after one of the most exhaustive, thorough, and intensive research efforts ever undertaken,” said Department of Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood.
The report determined that two mechanical defects in the accelerator pedal and floor mats are to blame. “Both problems had been identified before the NASA investigators began their work.” NASA was given unrestricted access to over 200,000 lines of code used in Toyota’s vehicles; its examination of said code lasted over 10 months.
Toyota says it’s confident that the issue is now resolved and that its cars are amongst the safest on the road. More →