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Toyota unveils its latest driverless car technology: Is it safe?

The new buzz term in the automotive industry is "driverless cars." It seems that every auto manufacturer has joined the bandwagon to contribute to the self-driving car industry. The proponents of driverless tech say that these cars will bring with them a new era of road safety, where we don't have to worry about drunk, reckless or distracted drivers causing accidents anymore.

Toyota and it's Toyota Research Institute (TRI) claims that it is leading the pack in robotically driven vehicles with the unveiling of its computer-driven Lexus LS 600hL, which it plans to showcase at the CES show in Las Vegas next week.

TRI says that it achieved three primary goals with its latest technology, which it calls Platform 3.0:

  1. A car with the most advanced perception abilities
  2. A design that makes production easier
  3. A better looking design

Indeed, the Platform 3.0 Lexus has a look that's far sleeker than other self-driven cars and it can "see" 200 meters around itself with 360-degree LIDAR sensors. Toyota claims that Platform 3.0 can sense shorter-range objects that are low to the ground like road debris and children, and it can also see further into the distance, even in nighttime conditions.

Considering that unlawful, drunk, distracted and otherwise negligent drivers cause the majority of crashes, could self-driving technology really make our roads safer -- and could it render the need to file personal injury claims to pay for the financial costs of car accidents obsolete? Perhaps only time will tell as we watch this technology grow into more sophisticated versions. In the meantime, Virginia Beach drivers will still need to watch out for the bad drivers they're forced to share the road with.

Source: engadget.com, "Toyota's new self-driving test car can better recognize small objects," Mallory Locklear, Jan. 04, 2018

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