By on February 2, 2012

Hachi-roku Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada credits his sons with giving him the impetus to develop this car. His sons are 24 and 27 now, they do not have a driver’s license and show no interest in cars. “They sit in front of the computer all day,” says Tada. “On Gran Turismo, they are better than their father. But they don`t want to drive.”

Tada tells how he took his boys to the racetracks since age 5 to awaken an interest in cars. It was a disaster, Tada admits:

“Manufacturers like to blame young people for having no interest in cars. Maybe we should blame ourselves. Manufacturers provided boring cars and focused on older people, because this is where the money is. We have abandoned young people.”

Creating new excitement for young people in an affordable car became the driving force behind the hachi-roku. Then, Tada had another idea. “I want to provide an interface between our car and their computer.” When Tada mentioned this to his sons, their eyes lit up.

Toyota, says Tada, developed an interface that makes CAN bus data available to a computer or game machine. Toyota has ditched all driving nannies on the hachi-roku, and pared down the electronics to what is legally mandated. But the car must have a CAN bus, and Tada wants to give the data to the driver. Not like a glorified data logger. Says Tada:

“People could load driving data into Gran Turismo and recreate the drive. We can combine the data with Google streetview. People could drive in the real world against a virtual F1 driver. They can have fun with the data.”

Hachi-roku owners can do whatever they or developers come up with, because Tada wants to publish the specs.

A patent for that interface has been applied for, and as mentioned before, the gizmo “should be ready to buy by August 6th.”

I requested an advance copy and will keep you posted. I better buy Gran Turismo.

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21 Comments on “Hachi-Roku Thursday: Toyota 86 To Let Drivers Download Data, Interact With Gran Turismo...”

  • avatar

    I am glad Toyota (along with a lot of input from Subaru) has developed the 86.

    As for the comment “Manufacturers provided boring cars and focused on older people, because this is where the money is.” he may well be right but it is fair to note Toyota is one of the preeminent auto companies at making boring cars, especially for the past 5-7 years when there was no Celica, no MR2, no sporty Corolla etc.

    I sincerely hope they, and others, will develop more fun to drive cars (VW with the Bluesport for example). Time will tell.

    • 0 avatar

      Toyota didn’t stop making those cars because they decided to be a boring car company. They stopped making those cars because nobody was buying them.

      The MR2 sold 780 cars in calendar 2005. The Celica sold 3,113. Sales of the rice edition Corolla weren’t broken out in the 2005 press release but it stands to reason that it was killed off so quickly because it didn’t sell either.

  • avatar

    I must be weird, but… if only I had some time to play on my poor dust-gathering PS3! Come one Bertel, you get your game, I switch mine on after months of neglect and let’s battle online! Time to revive the otaku in me :)

    • 0 avatar

      I would love to play GT5 but the latest huge updated has rendered it unplayable. It used to be a weekend treat to pull out the steering wheel and burn a few hours playing. Now I can only make it through a race or two and the game locks up :(

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Sigh, still using PS2 and struggling with GT2. Can’t pass some of the dang license tests. (Then again I can only play a few times a month and am a 35 year old professional with a full time job.)

      • 0 avatar

        License tests are much less painful on GT5. I blew through them pretty fast. My PS3 is more often used for Netflix/Hulu/Vudu/Blue Rays than playing games any more. But I’m 30 and also have a real job.

      • 0 avatar

        I haven’t noticed this… but then again I only do like 2 or 3 races a night. Mostly the “Seasonal Challenges”.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s awful! I can uninstall the update and it works fine, but then I lose the cockpit view I like to race in. I was told that there are over a dozen different versions of PS3 and that makes game updates difficult. It kind of shocked me that there would be glitches at all.

  • avatar

    This is the most awesome car news I’ve read in some time. When I first heard of the FT86 project I thought that it might be one of the two cars I’d ever buy new (Tesla model S being the other one…flame suit on). Mainly because it was a back to basics approach that caters to tinkerers. An open data interface just puts it on a whole new level. I think this could be huge in helping create a new generation of tech savy gearheads. Or just keeping young people interested in cars at all. They just need to make sure they can tie in GPS and accelerometer data somehow. The market for this may not be every single car buyer but I bet everyone interested in the FT86 won’t think twice about checking this option.

  • avatar

    “They sit in front of the computer all day,”

    or was Adam Savage would say, “Well, there’s your problem.” If the kids also couldn’t get dates, I hope the same logic wouldn’t be used to say tat all girls are boring as well.

  • avatar

    I think he’s on to something about the decline in interest in cars among many young people. My daughter is 16 and a half now and eligible to get her operator’s license. She has no interest. She’s had her learner’s permit for a year, but she drives as little as she can get away with because she doesn’t like it. She says there’s nowhere she wants to go. She doesn’t want the responsibility of having her own car, and she doesn’t want to borrow our cars all the time. My son is almost 15, an age where I was reading car magazines regularly. My son doesn’t know Mustang from a Camaro, but if we are ever invaded by Nazi zombies, he’s capable of defending the family.

  • avatar

    “I want to provide an interface between our car and their computer.” When Tada mentioned this to his sons, their eyes lit up.

    And mine glazed over. Nope, no interest in this type of thing. That’s just me of course…

    OTOH, that Fiat thing on the post before this one looks all kinds of awesome.

  • avatar

    Oh man. I said I was going to ignore this 86 stuff, but the whole access to the CANBUS issue brings up the hacker story from several months back…

    Is this really a good idea? The were no mentions about security.

    This seems like a great way to take over someone’s car, at least compared to the way described in the August posting. Write an exploit for SonyNet (or whatever it’s called now) (not that they didn’t have issues with security either), and let users willingly download the Trojan to their car’s system. Much easier than a rogue .MP3 or some exploit involving a USB key.

    Although, I would really like a way to get into David Pearson’s 1976 Mercury Montego MX NASCAR stock car and race around Laguna Seca in a virtual environment. Or re-live some of the IMSA/Trans-Am battles from the 1980’s.

    But, you know, different strokes.

    • 0 avatar

      “People could drive in the real world against a virtual F1 driver.”

      Seriously? We don’t have enough problems with street racing, now we want to give morons an opportunity to attempt to match up GT5 antics with real world hooning in an effort to outdo a virtual driver? Of course, this should make for some interesting post-crash analysis by the police and insurance adjusters. Quick, where’s the reset button?

  • avatar

    “Manufacturers like to blame young people for having no interest in cars. Maybe we should blame ourselves. Manufacturers provided boring cars and focused on older people, because this is where the money is. We have abandoned young people.”

    I’m really not sure how they expect to attract young (Read: Broke) drivers with a potentially 25k+ base price sports car. That’s going to have to be mommy and daddy’s money. And mommy and daddy are going to take one look… and go buy an Elantra instead. Unless, of course, they’re talking about yuppies.

  • avatar

    Hopefully automakers aren’t naive enough to think that young people are going to buy these types of cars new. Young people weren’t buying new $23k RSX Type-s’s 10 years ago, but today every RSX is being driven by someone in their 20’s. I see the same thing happening to the FR-S.

    If a used car is aspirational to a young driver, then perhaps as they mature, they will become interested in more mature cars front he same maker down the road.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. When I was getting to college in the early 2000’s, there were plenty of exciting used cars from the 90’s to pick from. But now the 90’s were over 12 years ago, you’re not gonna see too many parents willing to buy their kids such old cars, and there is less and less of them to see on the roads in the first place.

      There is just less and less cars to get enthusiastic about these days. When I was shopping for my most recent car, I was really depressed about how few good RWD offerings there were in my price range.

      With that said, I don’t ever see car enthusiasm getting back to the levels it was before with the kids. The F&F type of scene is a tired fad at this point, kids are much more plugged in to digital socialization. I personally don’t think thats a bad thing at all, but I do admit to being occasionally wistful in regard to cars.

  • avatar

    “Manufacturers provided boring cars and focused on older people, because this is where the money is. We have abandoned young people”

    That explain why moidern compacts are so boring, nutty styling on the outside to attract kids, dulled up driving for the elders.

  • avatar

    Kids often do their best to differentiate from their parents. Neither of my parents cared much for cars. They liked music. Among their three children, they only got one musician, and he went back to it only just before both parents checked out. They did get a grandchild musician, but didn’t live long enough to see that.

    They would have liked three tennis players, too, but they didn’t get that, either.

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