Exploring the Possibilities of Automation in Enhancing Human-Car Relationships

How automation will affect our relationship with cars

The Toyota Research Institute is developing an automated system called Guardian to enhance human control of a vehicle rather than remove it.

Imagine this: A driver falls asleep behind the wheel. The car has a dashboard camera which detects the driver’s condition. This activates a safety feature that guides the vehicle safely to a stop.

This is not an abstract idea. While on leave from MIT, MIT Professor John Leonard helps steer the work of the group at the Toyota Research Institute. Leonard and Avinash Balichandran, the head of TRI’s Human-Centric Driving Research Department presented their work at the MIT Mobility Forum.

The presenters discussed driving and automation on many levels. Leonard and Balachandran talked about specific TRI systems, while suggesting that – after years of publicizing the possibility of fully autonomous vehicles – a more realistic prospect could be the deployment technology that helps drivers without replacing them.


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