Forbes Global 2000 Ranking: 10
Autonomy: Likely to be Level 4
“We can see autonomous cars on the roads during Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.”
Toyota announced a $1 billion investment in Toyota Research Institute (TRI) as a 5-year plan in 2015 and since then it sped up the autonomous driving technology research. TRI focuses on not only autonomous driving but also Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, which are the essential technologies Toyota will need to develop a decent AV.
Although, Toyota is heavily investing in new breakthrough technologies, TRI’s CEO Gill Pratt cautiously commented on fully autonomous vehicles and said “… none of us in the automobile or IT industries are close to achieving true Level 5 autonomy.”, during the press release of Concept-i.
Toyota developed Lexus Safety System+, which is basically a Level 2 driving assistance system and it is available in most of the Lexus models since 2016. The system includes lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, intelligent high beams and pre-collision system.
Toyota executives are not that assertive in their words about taking the pole position. However, as they are the largest car manufacturer in the world, the conservative comments of company officers should be considered as humble words. They plan to make Level 4 autonomy, so called Highway Chauffeur, available on motorways in 2020, which means we can see autonomous cars on the roads during Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.
Who disregards Toyota in self-driving car challenge based on its officers’ modest attitude is silly. Who disregards Toyota in any sort of challenge should be silly. Level 2 Lexus cars are already on the roads and Toyota also has a somewhat patriotic goal: showing off self-driving cars during Summer Olympics. In the light of these facts, Toyota is one of the likely winners of this race.