The Toyota Supra, which can drift without human intervention, is being used to develop the next generation of autonomous driving technology.

experimental toyota supra is taking self-driving systems to the next level. Develop sensors and know-how to allow your car to ‘drift’ on the race track.

Developed by the US-based Toyota Research Institute (TRI), the Supra sports car was developed to drift autonomously without any input from a human driver.

But Toyota says the Supra’s auto-drift feature is more than just a party trick, and data collected by the car’s drive system will ultimately be used to detect and avoid road hazards in future production models. It is said that it may be used for

Avinash Balachandran, senior manager of human-centric driving research at TRI, argues that self-driving technology will assist the driver rather than take full responsibility for controlling the vehicle.

“TRI’s goal is to use advanced technology to augment and amplify humans, rather than replace them,” Balachandran said in a media statement.

“Through this project, we are expanding the realm of control over the car with the goal of giving the casual driver the instinctive reflexes of a professional race car driver to deal with the most difficult emergencies.”

The Toyota Supra had an on-board computer that could adjust the car’s steering, throttle, clutch, transmission and brake inputs.

About 250 data points per second are sent to the car’s nonlinear model predictive control (NMPC) module, allowing the Toyota Supra to seamlessly transition from high-grip to low-grip surfaces.

TRI research scientist Jonathan Goh said in a media statement:

“So TRI is programming vehicles that can identify obstacles and avoid them autonomously on closed tracks.”

The refreshed 2023 Toyota Supra is due to hit Australian showrooms later this year, but it won’t be equipped with advanced auto-drift technology.

Jordan Murak

Jordan Mulach was born in Canberra/Ngnawal and currently lives in Brisbane/Tarbal. Jordan joining his team in Drive in 2022, so far he has worked for Auto Action, MotorsportM8, The Supercars Collective, TouringCarTimes, WhichCar, Wheels, Motor and Street Machine. Jordan is a self-professed iRacing junkie, and on weekends he’s behind the wheel of an Octavia RS and cursing ZH Fairlane.

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