This just in: the automaker that single-handedly pioneered advanced technologies like hydrogen fuel cells and commercial hybrid vehicles will NOT participate in the driverless future. That’s right – the world’s largest Japanese car maker, Toyota, will set their sights on safety while the rest of the industry focuses on driverless automation.
The announcement came last Thursday at the automaker’s Advanced Safety Seminar in Michigan. At this year’s event, Toyota’s Deputy Chief Safety Technology Officer, Seigo Kuzumaki, bluntly stated that, “Toyota’s main objective is safety, so it will not be developing a driverless car.”
While we could have probably ended today’s story right there, we figured you’d want to hear why Toyota isn’t interested in what many claim is the car of the future. It turns out that Toyota’s own market research hasn’t shown a strong desire from today’s drivers for an automated driverless car. Not only that, Mr. Kuzumaki also informed us that even if the technology for a driverless car were realistic (which he reiterated – it isn’t), the vast infrastructure needed to support fully automated driving is a very long ways away.
Instead of full computer automation, Toyota says they will use their resources to improve the connection between human and machine. At the safety seminar another Toyota representative, Kristen Tabar of Toyota’s Technical Center, said, “The human being is the ultimate in sensor fusion. We have the visual, audible advantage, all the different inputs to make the best judgment moving forward.”
So, don’t expect Toyota to join the ranks of Google, Volvo or Nissan on the hands-free road to driverless cars.
But don’t leave just yet – this isn’t the only piece of Toyota news we have for you today!
Since Toyota’s focus on safety is a straightforward and – let’s be honest – boring story, we’re rewarding you for getting this far with an extra piece of automotive eye candy.
This, friends, is the Toyota Mark X Yellow Label edition:
Beautiful, ain’t she?
The Mark X Yellow Label is a five-year refresh for the current generation of Toyota’s JDM sport sedan. In addition to the vibrant yellow paint job (which is optional), the limited edition Mark X will get a matching yellow or black interior with piano-black trim and pink gold accents. The sporty sedan also gets a number of equipment upgrades and custom Yellow Edition alloys.
Unfortunately, the eye-catching Mark X Yellow Label will never be sold anywhere but Japan and China. The closest thing to the Mark X in either North America or the EU is the Lexus IS.