Upping The Ante: Why Toyota’s Push for ‘Intelligent’ Over ‘Autonomous’ Cars Just Might Work

Last week, the New York Times’ John Markoff explored the new investment by Toyota in intelligent car research through partnerships with Stanford and MIT lab researchers. See the full story here.

My first blog post ever was written about how Toyota firmly believed in the driver having the final say in a car’s decisionmaking, a stark divergence from the autonomous crowd that started with Google and now Apple and has bandwaggoned even the most performance-leaning carmakers.

Toyota is thinking much differently, and as the world’s largest automaker, people should be taking notice when the frontrunner goes against the grain of the rest of the industry on such a pivotal area of the business. Toyota has a history of making bold decisions that end up confounding industry experts and other companies. The most prevalent being the Toyota Prius legacy that launched the hybrid drivetrain revolution by bringing eco-friendly cars within reach of the middle class. More recently, Toyota has rebuffed Apple and Google’s intrusion into the car by heavily investing in their own user interface and infotainment centers rather than concede defeat. And the next frontier they will do battle is in the autonomous car age.

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