Last year, Toyota‘s Research Institute (TRI) teamed up with Stanford University to create an autonomous self-driving GR Supra that would learn drivers’ behavioral habits, and now the Japanese automotive company has announced a world-first — the Supra has completed its first autonomous drift around a closed circuit.
Drifting around obstacles, the test shows Toyota’s know-how in the world of vehicle control and dynamics, and by understanding this it hopes it can make cars and their drivers less likely to crash in dangerous conditions, such as when there’s black ice on the road.
“At TRI, our goal is to use advanced technologies that augment and amplify humans, not replace them,” said Avinash Balachandran, senior manager of TRI’s Human Centric Driving Research. “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.”
TRI and Stanford University enlisted expertise from GReddy and drift legend Ken Gushi to build an autonomous skillset that’s akin to that of professional drivers. “When faced with wet or slippery roads, professional drivers may choose to ‘drift’ the car through a turn, but most of us are not professional drivers,” said Jonathan Goh, TRI research scientist. “That’s why TRI is programming vehicles that can identify obstacles and autonomously drift around obstacles on a closed track.”
The aim is to introduce this technology to cars for all people of all capabilities, in turn reducing the amount of on-road collisions and accidents. Take a look at the GR Supra in action above.
In other news, Aston Martin has revealed the world’s most powerful production SUV.