Tech

The Future of Lexus Self-Driving Cars

Lexus Autonomous Driving

For better or worse, self-driving cars have become the central driving force of automotive technology, paced only by electrification and battery-powered vehicles as the dominant storylines in the industry. These two market forces have the ability to create and destroy the largest car companies in the world, and it’s in this whirlwind that Toyota (and by extension, Lexus) finds itself struggling to keep up with competitors.

As a way to jumpstart its position, Toyota has embarked on an ambitious (and expensive) path of development, funneling over $4 billion of investment into robotics and AI research. The latest issue of Bloomberg Businessweek takes a deep look at this gamble to stay with the pack:

Just four years ago, Akio Toyoda, the [Toyota] president, was saying his company would pursue self-driving vehicles only after one beat a human driver—for instance, him—in a marathon road race. He’s not saying that anymore, because Toyota has too much to lose.

If the company fails to pick up the pace, Toyota could, in one version of the future, face the humiliation of becoming a mere steel-box supplier to upstarts such as Waymo and Baidu. Toyoda himself has singled out tech companies as “our new rivals, with speed many times greater than our own.” He added: “A life-or-death battle has begun in a world of unknowns.”

A paradox underlies these initiatives: Toyota doesn’t necessarily buy the hype about self-driving vehicles quickly taking control of roads in the U.S. and beyond. [Vice president for automated driving research John] Leonard himself isn’t sold. “Taking me from Cambridge to Logan Airport with no driver in any Boston weather or traffic condition—that might not be in my lifetime,” he says. On its website, the research institute describes its goal as to “someday develop a vehicle that is incapable of causing a crash.” It doesn’t specify whether this uncrashable car would be driverless.

(This is a significant article, outlining the past, present and future of Toyota’s autonomous driving initiatives. Highly recommended reading.)

Comments
That's a huge improvement in the looks of the autonomy hardware, and I imagine more will be possible in that department when the car is actually designed around that equipment instead of having it added on later.
That's a huge improvement in the looks of the autonomy hardware, and I imagine more will be possible in that department when the car is actually designed around that equipment instead of having it added on later.
Makes it hard to believe that Tesla or other Germans can be autonomous without all this hardware. Google cars also have this much hardware.
Makes it hard to believe that Tesla or other Germans can be autonomous without all this hardware. Google cars also have this much hardware.
The last generation LS has aged so gracefully I think its timeless at this point..
The last generation LS has aged so gracefully I think its timeless at this point..
Levi
Makes it hard to believe that Tesla or other Germans can be autonomous without all this hardware. Google cars also have this much hardware.
Tesla's current hardware is much less than anyone (including Nvidia who supply the hardware) thinks you need for full autonomy, but the Musk Distortion Field is in full effect :) In particular, they aren't including any LIDAR, which is the centerpiece of every other manufacturer's system (including Toyota/Lexus). There are rumors that Tesla is switching to a new system internally with a lot more hardware now and owners will have to fork out several thousand to upgrade again, but I doubt it'll faze most of their fans.
Levi
Makes it hard to believe that Tesla or other Germans can be autonomous without all this hardware. Google cars also have this much hardware.
Tesla's current hardware is much less than anyone (including Nvidia who supply the hardware) thinks you need for full autonomy, but the Musk Distortion Field is in full effect :) In particular, they aren't including any LIDAR, which is the centerpiece of every other manufacturer's system (including Toyota/Lexus). There are rumors that Tesla is switching to a new system internally with a lot more hardware now and owners will have to fork out several thousand to upgrade again, but I doubt it'll faze most of their fans.
Ian Schmidt
Tesla's current hardware is much less than anyone (including Nvidia who supply the hardware) thinks you need for full autonomy, but the Musk Distortion Field is in full effect :) In particular, they aren't including any LIDAR, which is the centerpiece of every other manufacturer's system (including Toyota/Lexus). There are rumors that Tesla is switching to a new system internally with a lot more hardware now and owners will have to fork out several thousand to upgrade again, but I doubt it'll faze most of their fans.
I am an electric car fan, not an autonomous car fan, so thus still a Tesla liker.
Ian Schmidt
Tesla's current hardware is much less than anyone (including Nvidia who supply the hardware) thinks you need for full autonomy, but the Musk Distortion Field is in full effect :) In particular, they aren't including any LIDAR, which is the centerpiece of every other manufacturer's system (including Toyota/Lexus). There are rumors that Tesla is switching to a new system internally with a lot more hardware now and owners will have to fork out several thousand to upgrade again, but I doubt it'll faze most of their fans.
I am an electric car fan, not an autonomous car fan, so thus still a Tesla liker.
Levi
Makes it hard to believe that Tesla or other Germans can be autonomous without all this hardware. Google cars also have this much hardware.
The sleek looking Teslas and Audis are level 3 autonomy only. This testbed here is for level 4 and beyond. It's a quantum leap that requires a lot of breakthrough in sensor miniaturization.
Levi
Makes it hard to believe that Tesla or other Germans can be autonomous without all this hardware. Google cars also have this much hardware.
The sleek looking Teslas and Audis are level 3 autonomy only. This testbed here is for level 4 and beyond. It's a quantum leap that requires a lot of breakthrough in sensor miniaturization.
mikeavelli
The last generation LS has aged so gracefully I think its timeless at this point..
No kidding. I saw a mint-condition 2LS on the road yesterday and it struck me how dated it looks now (those things were seriously boxy, the 3LS was a big improvement). And how not-dated my LS looks even though the basic design goes back more than halfway to when the 2LS was still being sold.
mikeavelli
The last generation LS has aged so gracefully I think its timeless at this point..
No kidding. I saw a mint-condition 2LS on the road yesterday and it struck me how dated it looks now (those things were seriously boxy, the 3LS was a big improvement). And how not-dated my LS looks even though the basic design goes back more than halfway to when the 2LS was still being sold.
ssun30
The sleek looking Teslas and Audis are level 3 autonomy only. This testbed here is for level 4 and beyond. It's a quantum leap that requires a lot of breakthrough in sensor miniaturization.
Tesla is level 2 only... and even thats not fully working yet... did they enable auto wipers yet? I dont think so. It all went downhill once they ditched mobileye, I dont think their current system is as good as old mobileye yet... and they already change computers in newer vehicles, and there are rumors that they will do it again... for people who bought their after-Sept 2016 vehicles they claim they wont need new computers :).

Upcoming A8 will be Level 3 later this year (date not known yet, but not at the same time as start of sales), but only for highway jams under 37mph... no curves, no city, no over 37mph... so basically they are gaming the SAE system.

p.s. Do Toyota's in China have autobrake optional/standard?
ssun30
The sleek looking Teslas and Audis are level 3 autonomy only. This testbed here is for level 4 and beyond. It's a quantum leap that requires a lot of breakthrough in sensor miniaturization.
Tesla is level 2 only... and even thats not fully working yet... did they enable auto wipers yet? I dont think so. It all went downhill once they ditched mobileye, I dont think their current system is as good as old mobileye yet... and they already change computers in newer vehicles, and there are rumors that they will do it again... for people who bought their after-Sept 2016 vehicles they claim they wont need new computers :).

Upcoming A8 will be Level 3 later this year (date not known yet, but not at the same time as start of sales), but only for highway jams under 37mph... no curves, no city, no over 37mph... so basically they are gaming the SAE system.

p.s. Do Toyota's in China have autobrake optional/standard?
This cautious approach might be the best approach after a self-driving Uber research vehicle struck and killed a woman in Arizona today:

http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/19/technology/uber-autonomous-car-fatal-crash/index.html
This cautious approach might be the best approach after a self-driving Uber research vehicle struck and killed a woman in Arizona today:

http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/19/technology/uber-autonomous-car-fatal-crash/index.html
It doesn't speak well to Uber's self-driving system that it failed at "brake to avoid a pedestrian", something any Camry will do now.
It doesn't speak well to Uber's self-driving system that it failed at "brake to avoid a pedestrian", something any Camry will do now.
Toyota has suspended its autonomous prototypes after the Arizona incident:

Toyota Motor Corp said on Tuesday it will pause autonomous vehicle testing following an accident in which an Uber self-driving vehicle struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Ariz.

Separately, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office in Phoenix said it was awaiting the results of an investigation by Tempe police of the fatality before reviewing whether any charges should be filed. The Tempe police chief has told the San Francisco Chronicle that a preliminary look at video of the fatal crash indicates "that the Uber would likely not be at fault in this accident.

Toyota Research Institute is the company arm in charge of developing self-driving cars, with testing being conducted in California and Michigan. Toyota had reportedly been in talks with Uber to purchase the company's autonomous vehicle technology.
https://www.autoblog.com/2018/03/20/toyota-pauses-self-driving-car-testing-amid-uber-accident-probe/
Toyota has suspended its autonomous prototypes after the Arizona incident:

Toyota Motor Corp said on Tuesday it will pause autonomous vehicle testing following an accident in which an Uber self-driving vehicle struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Ariz.

Separately, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office in Phoenix said it was awaiting the results of an investigation by Tempe police of the fatality before reviewing whether any charges should be filed. The Tempe police chief has told the San Francisco Chronicle that a preliminary look at video of the fatal crash indicates "that the Uber would likely not be at fault in this accident.

Toyota Research Institute is the company arm in charge of developing self-driving cars, with testing being conducted in California and Michigan. Toyota had reportedly been in talks with Uber to purchase the company's autonomous vehicle technology.
https://www.autoblog.com/2018/03/20/toyota-pauses-self-driving-car-testing-amid-uber-accident-probe/
Ian Schmidt
It doesn't speak well to Uber's self-driving system that it failed at "brake to avoid a pedestrian", something any Camry will do now.
Actually, now it seems the accident was unavoidable with any autonomous system or human intervention. A Camry won't be able to save that person. Nothing stops irresponsible pedestrians from jumping in front of a car out of darkness.

Maybe except in China. Here in downtown Shanghai we have surveillance cameras with face recognition system that can actually ticket pedestrians and cyclers for traffic violation (fine and credit score penalties). Human rights issues aside, it makes driving in the city core much more pleasant since I no longer need to worry about a scooter running lights, or jaywalkers stalling the traffic because they have unjustified right-of-way.

Manhattan also spies the heck out of its residents so a similar system could be implemented there.
Ian Schmidt
It doesn't speak well to Uber's self-driving system that it failed at "brake to avoid a pedestrian", something any Camry will do now.
Actually, now it seems the accident was unavoidable with any autonomous system or human intervention. A Camry won't be able to save that person. Nothing stops irresponsible pedestrians from jumping in front of a car out of darkness.

Maybe except in China. Here in downtown Shanghai we have surveillance cameras with face recognition system that can actually ticket pedestrians and cyclers for traffic violation (fine and credit score penalties). Human rights issues aside, it makes driving in the city core much more pleasant since I no longer need to worry about a scooter running lights, or jaywalkers stalling the traffic because they have unjustified right-of-way.

Manhattan also spies the heck out of its residents so a similar system could be implemented there.
ssun30
Actually, now it seems the accident was unavoidable with any autonomous system or human intervention. A Camry won't be able to save that person. Nothing stops irresponsible pedestrians from jumping in front of a car out of darkness.

Maybe except in China. Here in downtown Shanghai we have surveillance cameras with face recognition system that can actually ticket pedestrians and cyclers for traffic violation (fine and credit score penalties). Human rights issues aside, it makes driving in the city core much more pleasant since I no longer need to worry about a scooter running lights, or jaywalkers stalling the traffic because they have unjustified right-of-way.
there is a video now, there is no jumping involved... just crossing a wide street in (relative) dark with bike in tow... system did not attempt to brake at any point, it is some kind of massive failure of the system and test driver was not watching the road.

Pretty much any auto brake system would have attempted braking, especially one that has a radar, since radar actually works better in dark (like in Camry). But I think at these low speeds even cheap camera system would attempt do brake at some point, as evidenced by all the IIHS, EuroNCAP and JNCAP tests on those systems. Quite possibly it would not have stopped in cheaper system, but one in Camry should have perfectly stopped in front of the pedestrian at speed of 38 mph that they were driving at.

Video:
https://www.axios.com/uber-self-driving-crash-video-74e82f27-f802-4b6b-b4b2-d3885e12a145.html

please notice it is disturbing since it shows a hit.

Again, problem here is that everything fails, we all have computers and cell phones and they always have some problem... cars are recalled all the time, even if they are engineered at much higher standards.

Partially the problem is likely that tech startups dont take all the necessary precautions and safety measures when developing new products... this we can see in our daily usage of tech... car companies are much slower to develop new things because they have a lot stricter standards.

And it is all perfectly shown in this bad application of technology.

Something to remember is that radar sees better at night than day, and lidar sees the same. So it makes no difference to the car hardware here if it is day or night and I would guess that despite bad camera, street was not badly lighted at all, we can see street lights around, it is just that the tester was looking around so he could not react either.
ssun30
Actually, now it seems the accident was unavoidable with any autonomous system or human intervention. A Camry won't be able to save that person. Nothing stops irresponsible pedestrians from jumping in front of a car out of darkness.

Maybe except in China. Here in downtown Shanghai we have surveillance cameras with face recognition system that can actually ticket pedestrians and cyclers for traffic violation (fine and credit score penalties). Human rights issues aside, it makes driving in the city core much more pleasant since I no longer need to worry about a scooter running lights, or jaywalkers stalling the traffic because they have unjustified right-of-way.
there is a video now, there is no jumping involved... just crossing a wide street in (relative) dark with bike in tow... system did not attempt to brake at any point, it is some kind of massive failure of the system and test driver was not watching the road.

Pretty much any auto brake system would have attempted braking, especially one that has a radar, since radar actually works better in dark (like in Camry). But I think at these low speeds even cheap camera system would attempt do brake at some point, as evidenced by all the IIHS, EuroNCAP and JNCAP tests on those systems. Quite possibly it would not have stopped in cheaper system, but one in Camry should have perfectly stopped in front of the pedestrian at speed of 38 mph that they were driving at.

Video:
https://www.axios.com/uber-self-driving-crash-video-74e82f27-f802-4b6b-b4b2-d3885e12a145.html

please notice it is disturbing since it shows a hit.

Again, problem here is that everything fails, we all have computers and cell phones and they always have some problem... cars are recalled all the time, even if they are engineered at much higher standards.

Partially the problem is likely that tech startups dont take all the necessary precautions and safety measures when developing new products... this we can see in our daily usage of tech... car companies are much slower to develop new things because they have a lot stricter standards.

And it is all perfectly shown in this bad application of technology.

Something to remember is that radar sees better at night than day, and lidar sees the same. So it makes no difference to the car hardware here if it is day or night and I would guess that despite bad camera, street was not badly lighted at all, we can see street lights around, it is just that the tester was looking around so he could not react either.
spwolf
Video:
https://www.axios.com/uber-self-driving-crash-video-74e82f27-f802-4b6b-b4b2-d3885e12a145.html
Seeing is better than hearing. Now I'm convinced. It was an unacceptable system failure.
spwolf
Video:
https://www.axios.com/uber-self-driving-crash-video-74e82f27-f802-4b6b-b4b2-d3885e12a145.html
Seeing is better than hearing. Now I'm convinced. It was an unacceptable system failure.

S
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