The new capability was achieved by the Toyota Research Institute (TRI).
TRI researchers modified a Toyota Supra to operate autonomously and drift around obstacles on a racetrack at Thunderhill Raceway without any human input. The TRI states that the objective of its work is to make autonomous vehicles more capable, and therefore safer, in scenarios such as driving on black ice or avoiding sudden obstacles.
"At TRI, our goal is to use advanced technologies that augment and amplify humans, not replace them. 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.
Taking inspiration from how professional race car drivers choose to drift through difficult road conditions, TRI researchers programmed its vehicles to identify obstacles and drift around them in a controlled manner. The Nonlinear Model Predictive Control (NMPC) software allows the car to "calculate a whole new trajectory every twentieth of a second."
You can read more about the feat on the TRI website.
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