Toyota's research arm has identified nine new studies it will conduct over the next five years to improve automotive safety — including looking at what drivers are doing when their vehicles are operating under current low-level driver-assistance technologies and how consumers should be best trained to use them.
Toyota's Collaborative Safety Research Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., has invested $85 million (all figures in USD) over the last decade to fund 260 research programs, completed largely in partnerships with university-based researchers. In November, it announced additional spending of $30 million over the next five years to continue and expand areas of research with dozens of universities working on different areas of automotive safety. The research is open-sourced and accessible, allowing other automakers around the world to benefit from its findings.
Among the newly funded research projects is a study being conducted with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which will try to determine what other things drivers do in the vehicle while Level 2 driving-assistance features are engaged. The study will put people in vehicles equipped with driving technologies and observe their behavior through driver-monitoring systems.