Toyota Research Institute (TRI) in the USA, together with Stanford University’s Dynamic Design Laboratory have just made an autonomous GR Supra perform drifts all without the need of a driver.
However, it is not what we think about making record attempts for the longest, largest, or fastest car drifting.
The collaboration is actually to gather plenty of data and information to further develop self-driving cars. This exercise is aimed to ‘teach’ self-driving vehicles to execute a slide or drift when avoiding obstacles that exceed the vehicle’s handling limits.
“Since 2008, our lab has taken inspiration from human race car drivers in designing algorithms that enable automated vehicles to handle the most challenging emergencies,” said Professor Chris Gerdes of Stanford University’s Dynamic Design Laboratory.
Late last year, the team from Stanford built their first autonomous drifting vehicle using a modified electric DeLorean. The autonomous Toyota GR project is a follow-up to that experiment.
In the video, the autonomous GR Supra is seen to be controlling all aspects of the drifting, including down-shifting, weight shifting and transitioning, applying precise steering angles and feathering the throttle, with the driver just being there for poses and if required, bring control back from an overenthusiastic self-drifting car.
Separately, TRI is also working with Toyota’s Vehicle Dynamics Control Team in Japan to apply the drifting architecture for future Toyota vehicles.
The specially-prepared 650 hp autonomous GR Supra used in this experiment can trace its origins back to the SEMA 2019 show. It closely resembles the GReddy GR Supra Drift Concept car fitted the eye-catching Pandem widebody kit. The car even won an award for “Best 20 GR Supra of SEMA”.