Japanese automotive brand Toyota is no stranger to experimental vehicular tech. The company fields hydrogen-powered cars, it’s backing flying taxis and now it’s jumped right past that whole ‘self-driving’ trend to make a car that drifts by itself.
The prototype GR Supra, the brainchild of the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), seems to have a very practical purpose in mind. By making a car that can drift with minimal human intervention, the auto-maker hopes to… avoid… accidents…?
Looking at Toyota, sideways
That really does seem to be the aim: gifting drivers with “…the instinctive reflexes of a professional race car driver and the calculated foresight of a supercomputer…” in order to avoid traffic accidents. This is a concept that would result in some spectacularly balletic, car-initiated (or -augmented) near-misses on the road, should the company’s ambition ever become a reality.
Gill Pratt, TRI CEO and Chief Scientist at Toyota, said, “The reality is that every driver has vulnerabilities, and to avoid a crash, drivers often need to make manoeuvres 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.”
You can see Toyota’s automated drifting in action in the video above and yes, the souped-up Supra can definitely drift on its own. We don’t get to see it in much detail, which suggests that the concept has some way to go before it’s ready for retail as a “…new level of active safety technology.” If it ever does make it to market, we’ll certainly keep our eyes on the road. It should be a sight to see.
Source/header image: Toyota/The Wheel Network (YouTube)