When a Toyota model like the Toyota Prius enters a new generation, we take notice. After all, it means improvements to design, amenities, and especially technology. Thank to the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), a more obscure car just entered its second generation. You won't find it at Bell Road Toyota, but it could be the most important new Toyota vehicle in years.
In its first generation, it was called the Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle (AASRV). The AASRV was unveiled just ahead of the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show and signaled how serious the Toyota Motor Corporation was about autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. Using HD cameras, LIDAR, and a host of proprietary tech, it was intended to put the company on track toward a self-driving car by 2021.
In the interim, the company spent more than a billion dollars to inaugurate the TRI. A year after it lauched, TRI's first major project is out. The second-generation AASRV, built on a Lexus LS 600hL from the company's luxury car division, refines the first-generation technology, making it modular and putting it in a smaller package.
The research now follows two streams, called Guardian and Chauffer. The former is a set of semi-autonomous driver assist aids that build on advancements in current Toyota cars and SUVs (like lane departure warning and emergency braking). The latter continues the company's ongoing work in developing fully-autonomous vehicles.
All of this might seem a bit arcane. It's not. Your Toyota Corolla may not be driving itself yet, but if you buy a new Toyota car, you're already seeing the benefits of the TRI's work. Those active safety features that have won many Toyota cars IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus awards? Thank the TRI and their AASRV.
The future is closer than you think. To see more of the best cars and most advanced technology on offer, come to your Phoenix Toyota dealership. Bell Road Toyota is conveniently located at 2020 West Bell Road in Phoenix, AZ.