The driver falls asleep at the wheel. The car is equipped with a camera on the dashboard that detects the condition of the driver’s eyes, which activates a safety system that immediately guides the vehicle to a safety stop. This is no longer just an idea. The system, called “Guardian”, is being refined at the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) and the Mobility Forum at MIT, Professor John Leonard and the head of the TRI human-centered driving research department, Avinash Balachandran , presented an overview of their work on automation and driving: the two experts’ belief in the possibility of fully automated vehicles with integrated technologies that help drivers but do not replace them.
Anticipating that kind of future might make sense, “rather than thinking of an all-or-nothing world where there is full automation or uniquely human control,” Leonard explained. “Is there a kind of future where there is more of a mixture between the best of man and machine?”, He stressed, underlining the various steps that the ‘Guardian’ system takes, from recognizing the lack of awareness of the driver to take control of the vehicle and eventually reach a point where the system no longer operates the vehicle when the driver is alert. “Our vision is that we can use some of the advanced techniques in automation to help human drivers more.”
The presentation, titled “Human-Centered Driving Research at the Toyota Research Institute,” took place online last Friday in front of an audience of over 200 people. The MIT Mobility Forum is a weekly series of conferences covering all aspects of transportation to stimulate innovation and strategic thinking on developing sustainable, accessible and safe modes of transportation.
John Leonard is an advocate of the auto industry’s efforts to develop high-tech vehicles and a realist about how these technologies might find their way into everyday life. “I’ve been a bit skeptical of full automation. It will take much longer to have this type of ubiquitous fleet of robot taxis, where a young person no longer needs a driver’s license or there would be no need for a human Uber driver, because all the cars run on their own, “he stressed. .. “We can expect multiple paths and a longer time horizon than many had predicted for the release of this one,” he assured.
Leonard and Balachandran highlighted the sophistication of current technologies in a video of a TRI system that can help avoid collisions when a vehicle is drifting or about to go off the road due to carelessness, bad conditions or other factors. The system is meant to “amplify the human being, for better overall performance. This includes things like security but also other elements we think about. [tornam a direção] enjoyable, “assured Balachandran, calling this kind of human-machine cooperation” HCID “, for intelligent, human-centered driving.
For his part, Leonard stressed that the need for better road safety is pressing, given developments such as the increase in traffic fatalities per kilometer driven since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. “The increase in road accidents and deaths after Covid is truly heartbreaking,” he complained. “I am very disappointed … that we have not found a way to use this advanced technology to make cars safer. And so I think the human piece is fundamental “.
And while watching fully automated vehicles running smoothly on the roads can be tempting, it seems quite likely that hundreds of millions of drivers will still be on the roads in the foreseeable future, so the alternative view is to help people drive as efficiently as possible. possible