After massive product recalls in 2009-2010 caused Toyota to fall behind GM in U.S. sales, Toyota Company wants to restore its top position through advanced information processing, safety, energy efficiency and cutting-edge scientific advances.
Toyota started in 1960 with one lab in Nagoya City, Japan. Since then, the company has expanded into 41 technological collaborations and contractor companies, including Daihatsu Motor Company, Hino Motors, Kanto Auto Works and Toyoda Gosei.
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Advanced Information Processing
Toyota's stated emphasis on engineering and electronics is to provide future Toyota vehicles with the most advanced information processing, from multifunctional high-speed digital mobile communications and power control devices for electric vehicles to sensors for advanced vehicle control. Future Toyotas will have voice-activated GPS, cell phone and emergency communication systems.
Toyota's research-related safety objectives are just as concerned with human operators of vehicles as the vehicles themselves. The company calls these objectives "preventive technology," attempting to promote a safer coexistence of cars and people. In addition to sensors that react to driver exhaustion and other causes of inattention, Toyota's research team is working on safety systems that respond to developing dangers around a vehicle, such as wind, water and oncoming traffic.
Toyota developed its semiconductor power device technology for the Prius, the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle in the world. The company continues to research fuel economy and cleaner emissions, hoping to develop new engine combustion methods and catalysts for fuel exhaust. But the real future in energy efficiency, according to Toyota's research objectives, is in the development of alternative fuel sources, such as secondary batteries and solar cells.
Toyota's research objectives include a five-year plan described by Motor Trend as "unusually exciting concepts." On the world market, they have more diesel, hybrid and electric models to come.
Toyota is using simulated airflow and engine vibration software to develop lighter, quieter and more efficient engines. Still the world leader in sales, especially in the U.K., the company also is designing more aerodynamic vehicles, analysing everything from wind throb to mirror vibration.
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