"Toyota and Apple are Similar"--A Treasure from the U.S. AI World Speaks About the Future of Automated Driving


The squeal of tires echoes around a test course. A WRC World Champion sits in the driver's seat--with his hands in his lap?! A look at the present and future of automated driving.

This edition of Toyota Times News covers an automated driving test run at Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama. Toyota Research Institute (TRI) CEO Dr. Gill Pratt also visited the studio to outline Toyota's vision for the future of automated driving.

A “treasure of the AI world” with experience leading robotics research programs at a U.S. Department of Defense agency, Dr. Pratt commented that “Toyota and Apple are similar.” What was the true meaning behind his surprising words?

First up, a test run at Toyota’s test course in Shimoyama, with guest appearances by TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team Principal Jari-Matti Latvala and reigning World Rally Champion Kalle Rovanperä.

Eagerly changing into his racing suit, the world champ jumped into a GR Yaris fitted out with automated driving technology. Without Rovanperä touching the wheel, the car sped off, accompanied by the loud squeal of tires.

Yet when Rovanperä took over the controls, he found that the braking and acceleration timing was a bit off.

A rally driver’s mission is to get their car safely to the finish line on any terrain. Failure to do so takes them out of the running. The development team and Rovanperä could be found intently studying the test data, working to incorporate this technology into safer car lives for ordinary drivers.

In the studio, Dr. Pratt outlined Toyota's vision for the future of automated driving. He explained that the goal is not to liberate drivers from steering but rather to provide a better driving experience, using AI to reduce the risk of accidents.

The conversation also expanded to take in the future of mobility. Dr. Pratt believes the common ground with Apple is a love for the customer, something that Toyota has valued since its founding. Make sure to watch the video for more details.

Dr. Pratt even shared how he came to join Toyota, and his surprising choice of favorite food, so don’t miss it!

Finally, a video from TRI Expo, showcasing a wide array of cutting-edge technology that will help shape the future of Toyota.

00:39 WRC World Champion tests automated driving
04:54 Why is a world champion teaming up with automated driving?
06:44 TRI’s initiatives
12:44 Introducing CEO Dr. Gill Pratt, and his surprising tastes
14:57 Why Toyota?
16:12 The present and future of Toyota’s automated driving
21:42 The challenges of automated driving
22:48 Toyota Around the World – TRI Expo
24:35 “Toyota and Apple are Similar”