Tech

Watch this Toyota car drift around obstacles all by itself

When we talk about autonomous driving today, we typically mean cars that can drive by themselves on the highway, recognize some of the dangers on the road, and perhaps do a few advanced tasks such as autonomously change lanes or park themselves.

But advanced stunts like drifting are still firmly in the realm of human driving…or are they?

Toyota Research Institute has released a video showing a modified Toyota Supra autonomously drifting around obstacles on a closed track, which it says is a world first. The driving’s impressive – with no prior knowledge of who’s driving, I couldn’t tell that it was the car itself, with the driver keeping his hands off the wheel throughout the stunt.

The goal of the stunt, Toyota claims, isn’t to create cars that can win drifting competitions, but to make autonomous driving systems that can react in situations where human drivers can’t.

“Through this project, we are expanding the region in which a car is controllable, with the goal of giving regular drivers the instinctual reflexes of a professional race car driver to be able to handle the most challenging emergencies and keep people safer on the road,” Avinash Balachandran, senior manager of TRI’s Human Centric Driving Research, said in a statement.  




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