Toyota’s new patent for “vehicle race track driving assistance” could make being on real-world circuits a lot more like playing a game of Forza Motorsport on the easiest difficulty level. The tech would essentially use modern active safety systems and apply those aids in a different environment.
The system uses a combination of GPS, cameras, and pre-programmed track layouts with precise latitude and longitude data. This stream of information would know exactly where a vehicle is on a circuit at any time. The tech is able to alter steering, braking, and throttle inputs, too. A display, possibly a HUD, would advise drivers about the optimum racing line. Just like a modern video game, there would even be colors for when to start slowing down for a corner.
With all of these pieces in place, Toyota’s patent outlines several ways that this technology could help racers. First, the system could essentially drive the car itself in an emergency. For example, the sensor could intervene through steering, throttle, or braking inputs if the person makes a mistake. It would ensure “that control of the vehicle is not lost and that the vehicle does not deviate from the race track,” accrding to the patent.
Another mode would assist more experienced drivers. For example, the steering would automatically “turn only between 5-10 or between 1-20 degrees when, in fact, a 30-90 degree turn is needed to travel through the turn without deviating from the race track.” This version of the tech would still tell drivers what to do, but the person behind the wheel would have more control.
Toyota also outlines a setting that someone would only use after being very familiar with the track. The system would make throttle, steering, or brake inputs before or after the optimum point in a corner, and the racer would have to correct for these adjustments.
Toyota first applied for this patent in May 2015, and United States Patent and Trademark Office published it in October 2016. There’s no indication when the system might actually arrive to a race track, though. However, the real-world applications are obvious. It might make getting into motorsports a little safer and easier for novices by giving them training wheels to prevent accidents from a lack of experience.
Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office Via: Free Patents Online Via: Reilly Brennan's Future of Transportation Newsletter