In video: Toyota tests an autonomous GR Supra that drifts

Driving enthusiasts don’t want to know about the autonomous vehicles of tomorrow, but some of the technology in these vehicles could make travel safer for many motorists, especially when losing control.

So thinks the team at the Toyota Research Institute in California, which has just successfully programmed a car to do drift on a closed circuit. And not just any: a GR Supra! This is a world first, according to the manufacturer.

“Our goal is to employ advanced technologies that support humans, not replace them,” says Avinash Balachandran, senior director of human-centered driving research. Through this project, we delve into the way a car can be controlled, with the aim of giving ordinary drivers the instinctive reflexes of a professional racing driver to react to the most serious emergency situations. »

Toyota has also teamed up with the specialist in drift Ken Gushi, as well as a lab at Stanford University and performance parts company GReddy, to replicate the actions the former is capable of.

The Institute’s “Nonlinear Model Predictive Control” system therefore teaches the car to manage driving aids to intervene in cases where avoidance maneuvers or regaining control are necessary, for example following a a pronounced skid, whether on dry, wet or icy road surfaces.

“On a slippery road, a professional driver may decide to perform a controlled slide around a bend, but the majority of us are not professional drivers. This is why the Toyota Research Institute programs and tests vehicles that can identify obstacles and circumvent them by skidding autonomously on a closed circuit,” explains researcher Jonathan Goh.

Photo: Toyota

Extensively modified based on Formula Drift racing cars, the GR Supra in question features computer-controlled steering, throttle, sequential gearbox and four-wheel braking. . The software used calculates a new trajectory every twentieth of a second to complete the necessary avoidance maneuvers.

On video: how does the Toyota Supra cope in winter?

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