Toyota rolls out an updated autonomous car prototype for CES 2019

Toyota will bring its latest prototype self-driving car to CES 2019. Code-named Platform 4.0 (or P4 for short), the car continues Toyota’s two-pronged approach to autonomous-driving tech, with systems designed to drive without human intervention, or to assist a human driver.

Like all previous Toyota autonomous prototypes, the P4 is based on the Lexus LS, flagship sedan of the Japanese automaker’s luxury brand. But where previous prototypes were based on older versions of the LS, the P4 is based on the recently introduced fifth-generation model. Engineers chose the LS 500h hybrid version because its onboard battery pack can be used to power the sensors and computers needed for autonomous driving. This is why other automakers and tech companies tend to choose hybrids or electric cars as test platforms for their autonomous-driving tech.

Toyota said the P4 has two additional cameras on the sides of the body, and two new imaging sensors — one facing forward, one facing rearward. The imaging sensors also feature new chip technology, and the onboard radar has been tweaked to allow a better field of view, according to Toyota. The lidar system, which includes eight scanners, carries over from the previous-generation test car.

It may be a prototype, but the P4 was designed to function like a normal car. As with its previous test cars, Toyota tried to integrate the sensors with the P4’s bodywork, rather than just tacking them on. But the hump on the roof and cutouts in the front fenders are dead giveaways. The trunk-mounted computer box (which is more powerful than before, according to Toyota) was also rejiggered to free up space for cargo.

Toyota is developing two autonomous-driving systems: “Chauffeur” and “Guardian.” As the name implies, Chauffeur handles all driving duties, completely removing human drivers from the equation. Guardian allows a human driver to maintain control, only providing assistance when deemed necessary.

The first P4 cars will join Toyota’s test fleet this spring. The Japanese automaker will also partner with Uber on self-driving cars. It will invest $500 million in the ridesharing company, and supply a fleet of Sienna minivans for joint testing. Toyota believes services like Uber will be the main users of autonomous cars, rather than individual owners.

Cars

Mercedes-Benz safety-car concept monitors the road ahead and your kids

The Mercedes-Benz Experimental Safety Vehicle 2019 was designed for a world where humans and machines share driving duties. It can use lights to communicate with other road users and even monitor an infant's vital signs.
Mobile

The best bezel-less phones cut all the right corners without losing space

As the smartphone industry marches toward a bezel-less future, we compare the shrinking bezels on the latest and greatest devices. Find out which manufacturers have the smallest bezels on their smartphone as we compare them side by side.
Gaming

These Xbox One exclusives are the definition of quality over quantity

Xbox One has a prestigious collection of handpicked titles that you can't play on other consoles. Here are the latest and greatest Xbox One exclusives, including some that are also available on PC
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Cars

Hyundai wants to make sure you’re seeing the outside world, not inhaling it

Hyundai is developing an intelligent air purification system for its cars that continuously monitors the quality of the air inside the cabin, and cleans it when it detects the presence of harmful particulates.
Cars

Nissan claims its upgraded ProPilot system enables hands-off highway driving

Nissan is launching a new version of its ProPilot Assist system that's much smarter than the current version. It can handle acceleration, braking, and steering on highways, while using a camera to ensure the driver doesn't fall asleep.
Cars

Car designers can predict your future desires. This is how they do it

Automakers employ small armies of designers, and they’re relentless about asking consumers what they want. So, how do you get from the voice of the customer to the designer’s pen, and why does it go wrong so often?
Product Review

Mercedes-Benz fires its first salvo in the luxury electrification war

The EQC is Mercedes-Benz's answer to the Tesla threat, bringing performance, tech features, and luxury to the growing electric SUV segment. We headed to Norway, the electric car capital of the world, to get a taste of it.
Cars

2020 GMC Sierra sees a bunch of updates, including adaptive cruise

GMC announced updates to its 2020 GMC Sierra pickup truck, including much-needed adaptive cruise control, a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel engine option, improved towing cameras, and expanded availability of the 10-speed automatic transmission.
Home Theater

Why you can’t buy Car Thing, Spotify’s first hardware device

Spotify created a voice-activated, in-car device that lets you listen to music and podcasts. But Car Thing, as it is known, is not for sale. Instead, it will be used to gather data from a limited set of customers.
Cars

Ford gears up to build rugged, capable hybrid trucks and SUVs

Ford is planning to put hybrid powertrains into big trucks and SUVs, and doesn't want to sacrifice things like towing capacity and off-road capability. A new hybrid system may help do that.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Insect drones and kinetic sculpture robots

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Cars

Semi-autonomous and always available: A peek into the near future of car rental

Soon we will see connected rental fleets with a dedicated lane at airports for self-driving cars, where drivers control the car to the airport, and then the empty car drives itself to the rental lot.
Cars

Walmart slashes prices on electric hybrid bicycles for National Bike Month

Electric bikes can be economical, convenient, and fun. Heading into summer, Walmart slashed the prices for two pedal-assist Hyper E-ride Mountain and City Electric Hybrid Bikes by 40%. We found a variety of e-rides for under $1,000.