Toyota wants to take autonomous driving to the next level. Aside from being used on the street, the engineers at the Toyota Research Institute have built a custom GR Supra that can drift around obstacles autonomously. Yes, this Supra comes with full self-drifting technology – a world first according to the company.
Don’t expect the GR Supra (or any other current Toyota model) to come with this self-drifting tech soon, though. Instead, the idea behind the research is for safety. According to Toyota, the idea behind the research is to utilize controlled, autonomous drifting to avoid accidents by navigating sudden obstacles or hazardous road conditions like black ice.
To make the self-drifting GR Supra a reality, engineers modified one to be similar to a Formula Drift pro car. It's fitted with a wide body kit, a wide-angle kit, and produces more power than a standard Supra. It is then equipped with computer-controlled steering, throttle, and clutch displacement. For more control over the vehicle, the Supra is fitted with individual, per-wheel brake control, giving the computer the most granular inputs possible.
“Through this project, we are expanding the region in which a car is controllable, with the goal of giving regular drivers the instinctual reflexes of a professional race car driver to be able to handle the most challenging emergencies and keep people safer on the road,” said Avinash Balachandran, senior manager of TRI’s Human Centric Driving Research.
From watching the video, the system seems to work very well. The Supra can drift around the various obstacles set up by Toyota’s research team on its own.
As cool as self-drifting tech is, we highly doubt it will be a feature available in future Toyota models. We’re also wondering how the tech would be applied if the vehicle was a low-powered front-wheel drive model, like the Corolla. Still, this tech does sound very interesting, and we can’t wait to see how Toyota develops it even further.