Toyota has announced a five-year, $30 million investment into the automaker’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC). The funds are designated for projects that explore the safety needs of an evolving mobility ecosystem and analyze protection measures for vulnerable and at-risk road users. To this end, CSRC has identified three new research tracks to guide its work over the next five years.
“Humans are at the center of Toyota’s technology development strategy, so we are designing our new safety research in pursuit of ‘Safety for All,'” explained Dr. Danil Prokhorov, director of Toyota’s Future Research Department and CSRC. “As part of this, our projects will explore the diversity of safety needs and analyze safe mobility options that accommodate different applications, physical characteristics, and levels of accessibility for people and society.”
Three interrelated tracks – Safety Assurance, Human-Centric, and Assessment – are described by Toyota as ones that address the challenges around the future of mobility while also combining the interdisciplinary backgrounds of CSRC’s team. Overall, CSRC will focus on shorter projects with timely findings while seeking the necessary partnerships to address safety issues facing at-risk and vulnerable populations. Throughout its history, CSRC has partnered with organizations like the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Michigan, among many others.
CSRC describes the research tracks as follows:
In this research track, CSRC will focus extensively on autonomous driving technologies. CSRC will study traffic flow and patterns, any potential safety hazards, and how humans interact with other road users and their vehicles, automated or otherwise. Toyota, as a whole, continues to be active in this particular area of future transportation research. The automaker is currently working on future mobility initiatives in Indiana and with other industry and academia partners across the United States on several key research projects.
As part of this research track, CSRC will develop a strategy for helping people understand the mobility innovations of tomorrow. Example areas include new technology training and customer health and wellness.
Under this research track, CSRC will focus on empowering the decisions of individual customers and industry stakeholders by identifying quantitative mobility safety measures. According to Toyota, example areas include new crash protection measures and repeatable test scenarios for new driver assistance and other automated features.
Since its inception in 2011, CSRC has completed 85 research projects with more than 25 different institutions, published over 260 research papers, and engaged more than 300 researchers. To date, CSRC has received $85 million for collaborative safety technology research to help reduce traffic fatalities and injuries.