Toyota‘s Research Institute (TRI) has teamed up with Stanford University‘s Dynamic Design Lab with the aim of creating a driving technology to help prevent accidents. The duo created an autonomous, self-drifting Supra which aims to reduce the rates of life-threatening crashes by using drifting for a good reason, per a press release.
The technology includes the advanced maneuvering of a vehicle without the need for human intervention. In order to make that a reality, the two teams developed a Supra that can drift itself since insufficient car control can be a leading factor in accidents.
Using the skills of a professional driver
This is the question Toyota is asking: "What if every driver who ran into trouble had the instinctive reflexes of a professional race car driver and the calculated foresight of a supercomputer to avoid a crash?"
Toyota and Stanford University have been working for some to teach the skills of a professional drifter to automated vehicles with the theory that sort of control of the car combined with supercomputer speed can prevent crashes. After examining real drivers, the teams took these abilities into digital and learned the behaviors that would make them able to avoid safety hazards that the average driver could not.
The teams used a modified Delorean to show a "proof-of-concept architecture capable of controlling a rear-wheel drive vehicle in a drift using brakes, steering, and propulsion.
The drifting exercise performed by the autonomous Supra that you can see in the below video is meant to demonstrate the process in an exciting way:
The research is currently just a test concept. However, the duo is actively working to apply the drifting technology for future Toyota vehicles.