Toyota is currently working on five future technologies

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Toyota is simultaneously trying to be ready for the present, while preparing for the future. With the automotive industry now linked to an overarching mobility theme, the Japanese automaker is expanding its reach not only to alternative fuels to power vehicles and buildings, but also to body safety in the event of an accident, towing solutions innovative, even using what a performance driver has learned. in accident prevention. Going forward, Toyota wants to master all of these things.

At a recent press event, the automaker digs deeper into the technologies it is working on that the company sees as the best paths forward for energy, safety and sustainability across all of its power offerings. vehicles.

Hydrogen generators

Toyota has been developing hydrogen fuel cells for more than two decades, one of which currently powers its Mirai sedan. Today, the company is partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to build, install and evaluate a fuel cell generator set at NREL’s Flatirons campus in Arvada, Colorado.

The one-megawatt generator incorporates several proven Toyota fuel cell modules, providing clean power to an on-campus data center. Toyota also developed the control system and says it can replace a conventional generator. These will start shipping next year.

Toyota is working on a hydrogen generator.
Toyota Motor North America

(Hyper) Active Safety

Toyota was one of the first OEMs to offer automatic emergency braking on almost all of its cars. This helped to avoid many head-on collisions. But, according to Toyota, that was only a little of what its active safety technology can deliver. The company calls it the Guardian approach and in the near future it will allow vehicles to autonomously drift (slide sideways) around an accident.

“Now it’s very easy to misunderstand our work and why we do it as if we’re trying to build some sort of horizontal roller coaster. It’s exciting, but that’s not where we’re going. We’re trying to do is bring the skills of the most expert driver into every car to avoid as many accidents as possible,” said Toyota Research Institute CEO Gill Pratt at Newsweek at an event at Toyota’s R&D center in Michigan.

“And the way we do that is by building models to better understand human beings and to create a framework of shared autonomy between the human being and artificial intelligence,” he said.

Toyota says it wants to combine these human/artificial intelligence systems to navigate emergency driving situations, making people safer on the road.

“And of course today the world faces many challenges, and goals like producing happiness for all may seem trivial or naive, but it is not. We actually see it as our mission. main,” Pratt said.

Smooth towing

According to Toyota, smooth towing is something you have to see to believe. It’s basically choosing a lead car and a follower car – in this situation the follower car must be drivable – where the follower car enters autonomous mode. It uses all its sensors already in place and vehicle-to-vehicle communications to emulate the wheel tracks of the vehicle ahead.

Toyota Smooth Towing
Toyota had two prototype Siennas fitted with special equipment to demonstrate hitch-free towing.
Toyota Motor North America

Toyota demonstrated it at the American Center for Mobility’s Smart Mobility Test Center in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The slow-speed demonstration took place on the facility’s simulated six-lane six-lane intersection, which is used to test all kinds of autonomous and electric vehicles. The Toyota Sienna minivans stayed about 15 feet apart, even navigating an intersection with a red light.

Human-Computer Interaction

Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) is launching four new biomechanical research projects. They study the differences in injuries between men and women and different age groups, technologies that can help prevent impaired drivers from driving, how to predict when a driver is at risk of incapacitation and how to tip better between autonomous and human piloting modes.

For injury differences, the researchers will use a combination of computer modeling, tissue experiments and medical imaging data to study ankle injuries between groups and genders.

CRSC Ankle Research
Toyota is investigating why ankle injuries are different by gender.
Toyota Motor North America

CSRC collaborates with University of Virginia, University of Michigan Medical School, University of California San Diego, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison on new projects.

Hydrogen trucking

Toyota is testing a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain in a Kenworth T680 semi-tractor. It has six hydrogen tanks behind the driver, shielded to withstand a .50 caliber bullet. They generate electricity for the two fuel cells that generate electricity. It has a four-speed automated manual transmission that does the shifting.

The truck has a range of around 300 miles when towing 80,000 pounds, which is good for daily commuting, and Toyota says the powertrains are designed to last as long as an equivalent diesel engine. Hydrogen refueling is as fast as gasoline, and maintenance is much lower than a traditional engine, adding to the benefits of a fuel cell powertrain. Toyota is putting the stack into production next year, with the aim of selling them to its partners.

Toyota hydrogen fuel cell
Toyota’s hydrogen powertrain can travel about 300 miles with a loaded tractor-trailer.
Toyota Motor North America

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