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Toyota pauses automated driving testing on U.S. roads following Uber accident

Automaker Toyota has temporarily ceases its public road testing of its fully autonomous ‘Chauffeur’ system in the U.S. after an accident earlier this week saw an Uber self-driving test vehicle strike a pedestrian, which ultimately resulted in her death. Police have stated that initial findings suggest the accident would’ve been extremely difficult to avoid regardless of whether a human or an AV system was in control at the time, because of how quickly the victim crossed in front of the moving vehicle (outside of a crosswalk), but Toyota has indicated to Bloomberg that it’s stopping testing for now due to the potential “emotional effect on its test drivers.” Toyota spokesperson Brian Lyons noted that the automaker couldn’t speculate on the cause of the crash or its implications for the future of the self-driving industry, which is a fairly standard line I’ve heard across automakers and others involved in the industry thus far, and which suggests a fair reluctance to make any lasting material decisions before all information is available regarding the Uber incident. Toyota has been working on both its ‘Chauffeur’ fully automated driving system, as well as ‘Guardian,’ an advanced-driver assist system that is designed to institute fail-safes for intervening to prevent accidents when a human driver’s behavior puts themselves or others in danger.

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Uber said to be negotiating sale of self-driving tech to Toyota

Uber might begin selling its autonomous driving systems to outside companies, including major automakers, according to a new report from Japan’s Nikkei . The report claims that Uber has had talks with Toyota regarding supplying the automaker with self-driving tech, and that the two are currently in negotiations around how this would work, with talk of putting the autonomous tech developed by Uber into a Toyota-made minivan. The deal comes as a Toyota VP and Toyota Research Institute CEO Gill Pratt met with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi at Uber’s Pittsburgh Advanced Technologies Group R&D center. Uber has also teamed up with Volvo to co-develop self-driving technology, and uses the XC90 SUV as its test platform for its own current autonomous vehicles. For Uber, partnering with more automakers could mean speedier development of its own AV systems, and a way to prime the market for a network of autonomous ride-hailing vehicles sourced from consumer and automaker fleets. Rival Lyft is making its own autonomous systems with Magna , one of the world’s leading auto suppliers, and the fruits of that collaboration could put it in fine form to see its products introduced in many automaker vehicles. Meanwhile, Toyota has just introduced a new company springing out of its Toyota Research Group – TRI-AD, or Toyota Research Group-Advanced Development, which will focus specifically on brining TRI’s work on autonomous driving to market. This recent move could be an indicator that TRI’s work on self-driving isn’t translating to something ready for commercial products quite quick enough, so teaming with Uber could be a means to try to help accelerate those efforts. This isn’t a done deal yet, however, according to the report, so anything could happen. But it’s an interesting glimpse into the autonomous driving strategy at both Uber and Toyota.  

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Uber Might Supply Self-Driving Technology To Toyota – Ubergizmo

Uber Might Supply Self-Driving Technology To Toyota Ubergizmo There's a reason why companies like Uber are working on self-driving car technology. You wouldn't expect the ride-hailing service to actually build and sell a car of its own. The company is working on this technology in the hopes of selling it to ... and more »

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Ford takes aim at Toyota’s hybrid market lead with its new SUV lineup

Ford detailed a bunch of its roadmap for the next few years at a special media event today, and one of the key takeaways is that it’s going all-in on hybrids with its SUV lineup. Ford estimates that SUVs could make up as much as half the entire U.S. industry retail market by 2020, and that’s why it’s shifting $7 billion in investment capital from its cars business over to the SUV segment. By 2020, Ford also aims to have high performance SUVs in market, including five with hybrid powertrains and one fully battery electric model. These will include brand new versions of the Ford Escape and Ford Explorer that are coming next year, and two entirely new off-road SUVs including a new Bronco, and a small SUV that has yet to be named. There’s also that “performance battery electric utility” that will make up part of its overall SUV lineup, which is set for a 2020 release and will spearhead a plan to release six electric vehicle models by 2022. With this big hybrid push on the SUV side, Ford expects to go from second to first-place in the U.S. hybrid vehicles market by sales, surpassing current leader Toyota by 2021 thanks also to the forthcoming hybrid Mustang and F-150.

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Don’t foul this free-throwing Toyota basketball robot

Because if it gets to the free-throw line, it sinks the shot – every. single. time. This robot (via The Verge ) is the project of a group of Toyota engineers using their spare time, to build a robot inspired by the manga Slam Dunk , which is about a Japanese high school basketball team. The engineers brought their robot out to face off against humans, (pro players, though pro players from a B–league in Japan, not NBA) but the robot nailed it every time. Still, it’s a free–throw competition – humans still have a gigantic lead on other aspects of basketball, like most of them, in fact. Don’t get me started on the dunk competition. 

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