Today, the Toyota Research Institute, the Silicon Valley-based arm of the biggest carmaker in the world, unveiled the latest version of its autonomous vehicle, featuring better sensors, improved detection, and two steering wheels to better transfer control from human to robot.
Guardian is a driver-assist system (think Tesla’s Autopilot) that monitors the environment around the vehicle, alerting the driver to potential hazards and stepping in to assist with crash avoidance when necessary.
The vehicle is equipped with LIDAR laser sensors built by Luminar, a Portola Valley, California-based startup that is positioning itself as a competitor of heavy hitters like Velodyne and Quanergy.
A recent analysis by Navigant places the Japanese automaker further behind OEMs like Ford, General Motors, Daimler, and BMW in its ability to deploy a fully self-driving car by the industry’s target date of 2021.
But Toyota has stayed noticeably on the sidelines during much of the talk around partnerships.