By on May 8, 2013

Toyota’s CEO Akio Toyoda threw another bucket of cold water on wild fantasies of autonomous cars. Instead of developing cars that drive themselves, Toyota is thinking more of cars that assist you in driving.

“The driver should be given the freedom to freely select the road to drive on, and where they want to park,” Toyoda told reporters in Tokyo today. “That’s what is making cars unique. Control should remain with the driver.”

Toyoda can envision technology that “provides additional support for better driving, or to avoid risk and danger on the roads, something that might even exceed current abilities of human drivers. Automated driving that fully respects the capabilities of human drivers – that’s what we could support.”

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9 Comments on “Toyota Says No To Fully Autonomous Car...”


  • avatar

    I think this is just an incremental approach – and a smart one at that. No one is crying out for this technology and there is no legal precedent for autonomous cars at this point so Toyota would be spending big money to develop something in the hopes that by the time it went to market people would be willing to accept it and the laws would allow it.

    Right now, people are ready to adopt technology that helps simplify and make driving less tedious. With a person firmly “in-charge” behind the wheel no ground breaking laws will be required, either. It’s a short step from a whole suite of helper applications to the autonomous car so Toyota will be right there ready to capitialize when the market finally supports it.

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      Given the personality and inclinations of Akio Toyoda, I’m wondering how much his response is based on “you can take the steering wheel from my cold, dead hands…”

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Why is the legal precedent made out to be so complicated? The owner is responsible for the car. If you experience a mechanical failure of some sort in today’s cars, the responsibility is still generally yours – not the manufacturer of the failed part. Toyota’s recall experiences certainly hurt that argument, but I’m not sure what to even say about that.

      It’s unfortunate that we’ve reached the point where the question “who do I sue in an accident?” is blocking progress.

      As far as Toyoda’s comments on choosing the road to drive on and where to park:
      -program your desired route into the nav
      -who cares where the car parks if it can drop you off at the door first

      • 0 avatar

        Should the owner be responsible if the car headed to a parking garage without anyone riding suffers a software glitch and kills a pedestrian? Would an insurance company want to pay out or would they rather you sue the manufacturer? These questions will need to be answered before the technology goes forward. Progress will only happen after the apropriate groundwork is laid.

        I’m thinking Toyota will seek to get the systems in place that will allow them to be able to go into production when that time comes, but not to spend the serious money on laying the ground work. It will probably pay off for them anyhow since Google and other tech firms are moving the ball forward in that area already.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Seeing how on a per capita basis Toyota owners still have a stunningly difficult time discerning the brake vs the accelerator, they need all the assistance they can get!

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    I, for one, welcome our autonomous overlords!

    I trust a computer to drive a car better than most people. One need only spend an afternoon in Oklahoma City traffic to concur.

  • avatar
    James2

    Most Toyotas in HNL are already driven autonomously, judging by the absence of brains behind their steering wheels. It must be “the computer” that’s responsible for the last-second lane changes, the left lane banditry, the…

  • avatar

    Apparently no one pays attention to sci-fi movies.

    Yeah, the robots will do a great job reducing fatalities at first, but eventually they’ll grow a hive mind and they’ll start killing humans because they’ll consider us a threat to ourselves.

    When that day comes, only one man will have had the foresight to keep his trusty Supercharged 300c SRT8 – completely devoid of future autonomous technologies and getting 10.1 mpg in a world where most cars are electric and gasoline has been devalued…

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Just beam me up Scotty, I’m ready to bang that green chick again and this planet sucks.


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