Making ever-better cars is a never-ending series of challenges. Toyota Times caught up with engineers taking up the gauntlet on the development frontlines.
“Thanks for breaking (the car).”
These words can often be heard from the mouth of Project General Manager Naohiko Saito, who oversees the development of the GR Yaris. He is a perennial presence at the carmaking genba, working in tandem with professional drivers.
Why would a developer who pours their heart and soul into making cars be grateful when they are wrecked?
Production cars may not drive under the conditions found in motorsports but getting pro drivers behind the wheel to push vehicles to the limits through various courses and situations sheds light on the unpredictable.
Even the scratches and dirt found on parts offer valuable data that contributes to making ever-better cars. “Every scratch and scrape tells a story,” says Saito.
The fact that a car has been honed under extreme conditions means buyers can enjoy driving in safety and comfort.
Toyota’s development genba demonstrates the reality of what President Akio Toyoda calls “making ever-better cars through motorsports.”
In the studio, Saito displayed actual components damaged in development, including parts from a broken suspension and a shattered piston, recalling what had happened.
Morizo also features in these stories. Check out the video for an episode that encapsulates his essence as a master driver who won’t overlook the slightest anomaly.
Having engaged in constant dialogue with vehicles during development, Saito says that “cars that are safe and fun to drive seem to smile.”
It may sound somewhat supernatural, but perhaps cars really do have a soul.
Shunji Mitsuyoshi, Project Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Engineering, is researching how the “feelings” of race cars are perceived. His experiment, which used a unique algorithm to convert information from car sensors into emotions, has yielded astonishing results.
“Toyota Around the World” showcases the LEXUS DESIGN AWARD 2023 winners and their works.
Don’t miss a second of this week’s Toyota Times News, filled with a deep love for carmaking.
01:06 On the development frontlines with a pro driver
06:27 The starting point for making ever-better cars
08:44 Why say “thank you for breaking it”?
10:56 Every scratch and scrape is valuable data
13:22 Rally engine breakdown
17:11 Master driver Morizo’s sensors
20:33 Making ever-better cars through motorsports
22:28 Do cars have feelings?
28:54 Conversing with cars
32:18 [Toyota Around the World] LEXUS DESIGN AWARD 2023