And they’ve released a video on it, with the aim on ‘improving vehicle safety’.
The Papadakis Racing Rockstar Energy Drink Toyota GR Supra presented at SEMA360 was a crazy drift car with over 1000 horsepower that participated in the 2020 Formula Drift Pro class, driven by expert driver Fredric Aasbo.
That was 2020 – and now in early 2021, Toyota has built something with a similar idea in mind, except without the competition spirit, horsepower… and even without the driver.
Yes, Toyota’s Research Institute has built an autonomous drift Supra based off a research project from a Stanford Design Laboratory with the intent of designing “a new level of active safety technology… so that Toyota and other auto manufacturers can deploy it on the road.”
Lets be honest though, that’s just a perfect excuse for designing an autonomous car with pure fun in mind.
The original Stanford project involved a group of researchers turning a DeLorean into a fully autonomous drift missile they called MARTY – and with Toyota’s research and funding behind the idea, there could eventually be some real progress in this niche department.
Gill Pratt, CEO of the Toyota Research Institute and Toyota’s Chief Scientist stated “every day, there are deadly vehicle crashes that result from extreme situations where most drivers would need superhuman skills to avoid a collision.” It makes sense, and it would mean that autonomous driving could soon be able to handle the most challenging emergencies via its algorithms.
Although safety and autonomous advancement are the main claimed goals of the program, its definitely also an interesting prospect for the car enthusiast. Whats even more interesting is whats written at the bottom of the webpage for the project – “separately, TRI is also working with Toyota Motor Corporation’s Vehicle Dynamics Control Team – based in Japan – to apply the drifting architecture for future Toyota vehicles.”
Could this mean that Toyota is planning to integrate an autonomous drift mode into their future production cars?