Before it brings advanced self-driving features to cars intended for personal use, Toyota Motor Corp plans to deploy them in commercial vehicles first. Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD) Chief James Kuffner said it will be easier to apply tech that doesn’t need direct, constant human monitoring to taxis and vehicles the firm is working on with the inclusion of mobile shops, Reuters reported.
Kuffner said, according to the report, referring to the level at which vehicles can self-drive with limited conditions, “It will take more time to achieve ‘Level 4’ for a personally-owned vehicle.” He continued, “Level 4 is really what we’re striving for to first appear in mobility as a service.”
Toyota and its suppliers are taking a longer view when it comes to cars that have artificial intelligence (AI) and self-driving technology in comparison to rivals that market vehicles that can drive themselves on the freeway. Toyota, for its part, is set to roll out its first “Level 2” self-driving car that is able to drive itself on the highway as part of its gameplay to create self-driving cars over the next couple of decades to come.
In separate news, reports surfaced in September that Ford Motor Company had chosen Austin, Texas, as another city to pilot and deploy self-driving vehicles. The firm wants to get the business off the ground by 2021. Ford, along with its tech partner Argo AI, would start tapping into the technology to map the city beginning in the middle of November per the earlier report.
Previous cities also chosen were Washington, D.C. and Miami-Dade County in South Florida, with tentative plans to launch fully in those cities by 2021 as well. Sherif Marakby, CEO of Ford’s autonomous vehicle unit, said per past reports there were two main reasons Austin was chosen. For one, the city displayed a willingness to work with Ford and second, the population in the city is increasing, and it is becoming more congested.
Marakby said, according to past reports, “With increased traffic, we think we can solve some issues and work with the city on understanding what the challenges are in the city.”