OUR GUIDING DEVELOPMENT PHILOSOPHY: THE MOBILITY TEAMMATE CONCEPT
Toyota’s overall development philosophy for automated driving technology is the Mobility Teammate Concept (MTC), an approach built on the belief people and vehicles can work together in the service of safe, convenient, and efficient mobility.
The MTC combines all of Toyota’s research into automated driving capability – the ability of the human driver, and driving environment difficulty – and merges them into a vision in which people and vehicle “team up” to monitor and help each other whenever necessary. In the near term, this approach capitalizes on the different skills that humans and machines bring to the challenge of safe driving. Indeed, thanks to the power of connected systems and cloud-based technology, this sharing of responsibilities means intelligent vehicles will improve continually, with every car and truck benefiting from the experience of each driver. As technology advances, MTC will allow for vehicles to adapt and expand their support based on the capabilities of individual drivers, including those who might otherwise be unable to drive safely
Toyota’s overall development philosophy for automated driving technology is the Mobility Teammate Concept (MTC), an approach built on the belief people and vehicles can work together in the service of safe, convenient and efficient mobility.
Importantly, MTC is a philosophy built on the belief people should have choices. Rather than removing humans from any engagement with their own mobility, this allows people to enjoy the fun and freedom of driving when and if they choose, while also benefiting from the capabilities of automated driving when they wish. Indeed, under MTC, individuals can choose Chauffeur capability in some situations, such as highway and long-distance travel, or the support of Guardian capability in others, such as at lower speeds or on shorter trips.
Finally, MTC expands its focus on human vehicle interaction to go well beyond the relationship between automobile and driver. This includes the interactions among vehicles and others sharing the road, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers.
In 2003, Toyota introduced its first millimeter wave radar based Pre-Collision System (PCS). Later Toyota rolled out the system to more-affordable vehicles such as Prius. Developing advanced technologies first, then finding ways to bring them to a more popular and affordable range of vehicles, continues to be Toyota’s strategy. This two-axis approach also applies to automated driving technologies, which in many ways are an extension of our previous work on advanced safety systems and which share the same ultimate goal of zero casualties from traffic accidents.
The results can be seen most clearly in Toyota Safety Sense and Lexus Safety System+, which make advanced safety technologies available as standard or optional equipment on new Toyota and Lexus vehicles in Japan, Europe, and the United States. Indeed, future generations of both systems will expand to include a broader range of automated safety systems and technology as research and development progresses.
This approach of beginning with personally owned vehicles is a proven and valuable method for technology development, as it speeds the introduction of advanced systems that can help improve safety, reduce accidents, and ease traffic. Today, thanks to rapid component and IT technology developments, we can often reach mass-vehicle deployment much faster.
Toyota is committed in the near term to bringing vehicles with automated driving capabilities to market. This includes two planned vehicle systems:
MOBILITY AS A SERVICE (MAAS)
Through its own programs and in partnership with various companies in the mobility services space, Toyota explores MaaS markets and opportunities. We believe these platforms will accelerate automated driving technology development and help bring its benefits to people who can’t drive.
MaaS addresses one of the key challenges in developing automated vehicle systems – the need for significant driving data to improve core technologies. Initial component costs mean vehicles with automated driving systems are likely to be expensive and sell in small numbers. What’s more, the low usage rates of private vehicles mean each will likely generate relatively little data. With MaaS, those costs can be amortized across a fleet, where higher utilization rates increase the data gathered.
Toyota believes MaaS provided by vehicles with automated driving systems can help lower costs per passenger mile, creating new waves of consumer demand and a virtuous cycle of affordable mobility, safety and convenience. It can also help improve automated driving technology and support greater societal acceptance and consumer adoption. Taken together, the system will bring forward key benefits of automated driving much faster than through private ownership alone.
Beyond automated driving, Mobility Services also offer promising opportunities for Toyota to expand the services it can offer customers. To this end, Toyota has established a Mobility Service Platform to enable collaboration with a variety of services providers.