Car Sharing—Revolutions Are Coming; Some Are Already Here

Car Sharing—Revolutions Are Coming; Some Are Already Here

Turning Scarce Resources into New Business Opportunities

The on-demand convenience of ridesharing and ride hailing services has already made a dramatic impact on the transportation landscape. Public transit ridership is down.

Maven Bolt

Electric cars are showing up more in car sharing programs

car sharing

Car sharing is becoming an easy app

Property sales in far-flung subway-less neighborhoods outside NYC are up. Manhattanites are choosing to share a Lyft with total strangers rather than walk a few blocks in the rain. The result? More urban area dwellers—especially millennials—are choosing to skip the car-owning experience altogether.

But ridesharing isn’t for everyone. For those on limited income or traveling long distances on a regular basis, the cost of an Uber or a Lyft is out of reach. Because (let’s face it) ridesharing is pretty inefficient. For every ride, you have an extra person—and that person needs to be paid. That’s where car sharing comes in. What if you could offer the same flexibility and convenience at a much lower cost?

Car Sharing Innovators

Car sharing innovators are creating new value in the mobility space: making scarce resources more efficient. The station-based car sharing model best serves neighborhoods where people need to run errands and can easily return the car to the same location. Vehicles in these setups are typically used between 12 percent and 15

car sharing

With some car sharing services a variety of cars are available

percent of the time, making them considerably more efficient than private vehicles, which have a 4 percent utilization rate. The free-floating car sharing model goes further, adding the convenience of one-way transport at a much more affordable cost than a ridesharing service. Utilization goes up as well: Free-floating cars are on the road between 15-to-18 percent of the time.

That’s just the beginning. As car sharing attains critical mass, it’s estimated that one vehicle can take between 7 to 11 vehicles out of a metro area. (Imagine Los Angeles with less than 1 million cars instead of 6 million.)

More Environmental Benefits

The car sharing model offers an additional environmental benefit. Drivers can choose the lowest-impact vehicle for each trip. They can drive a fuel-efficient compact around town—and still take an SUV for the once-a-year camping trip or drive a pickup to Home Depot. And because car sharing fleets will always be newer and better maintained than the average privately owned car (and more likely to be electric), the impact of any of those vehicles will be lighter on the planet.

car sharing future

The future of car sharing is autonomous

Of course, the greatest efficiencies will be realized when one car can do both car sharing and ridesharing. A model where the vehicle is available for car sharing during the day, switches to ridesharing in the evening (after cocktails), and goes on delivery errands at night (when there’s no traffic) would offer transformational utilization rates. In fact, in a perfect world, the car might be busy day and night.

But the true revolution will come when we get to autonomous vehicles. Consumers will enjoy the best of both ride/car sharing. By taking the driver out of the equation, they’ll have the privacy and low cost of car sharing and the door-to-door service of ridesharing—without ever having to take the wheel or interact with a driver. Autonomous car sharing will also drive the design of new types of cars: vehicles that provide carpooling strangers with a degree of privacy, vehicles that carry passengers by day and transport goods by night, and the right-size car for every transport need.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy:

Top 10 Car Sharing Programs

News: Is Ride Sharing Eco-Friendly?

News: Ford Emobility Moves the Company into New Territory

News: What You Need to Know About Smart Mobility

News: Safer and Self-Driving Cars Now on the Road

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Road Test: 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Making Popular Greener

The midsize Toyota Camry sedan has enjoyed the top spot in car sales in the U.S. for the last 14 years. Now in its 35th year and seventh generation, it remains a hit.

2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Less invisible in red

What folks may not know is that Toyota sells lots of other hybrids besides the Prius. There’s an Avalon, Highlander, and RAV4 Hybrid offered—and even a Camry model. While it’s not as fuel efficient as the Prius, the 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid still is significantly greener than the gasoline-only models.

The latest Camry was significantly restyled a couple of years ago, and flaunts the ferocious mouth that all Toyotas bare now. There’s more texture to the side panels, and the overall look carries a little more flair than before.

Inside, every Camry features a swirling flow of curves and overlapping panels that’s stimulating to the eye. The dash and door wear the requisite stitching that reads “upscale” today. Materials are good but are below, say, an Audi for fineness.

The Hybrid Power Option

Regular Camrys come with either a 178-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (with 170 lb.-ft. of torque) or a 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 (with 248 lb.-ft. of torque).

2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Toyota’s proven powertrain

The third option is the hybrid Synergy Drive System, which combines a 2.5-liter four with a 105-kW electric motor to net 200 horsepower.

Like a good hybrid, it’s programmed to use electricity or gasoline depending on the driving situation. It can use only battery power when, say, cruising down a 25-mph suburban street. In fact, you can select the EV Mode button and, for up to 1.6 miles at speeds below 25 mph, tell the gas engine to take a break.

I drove my Ruby Flare Pearl test car just as I would any other vehicle. I could hear the gas engine start up when I got on the freeway, but I also noticed that if was in slow commute traffic or on streets in town, the battery would often be turning the wheels. The car’s computer makes the decision, but you can guide it by applying the accelerator gently and braking considerately.

The 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid shoots from 0-60 mph in just 7.6 seconds, which is relatively speedy. You do lose some trunk space for the battery, but otherwise, you really don’t see the difference. I was still able to stash a bass guitar and small amplifier in there.

The Levels of Camry

Like other Camrys, the Hybrid comes in multiple levels. The base car is the LE, but there’s a sporty SE or the top-level XLE, like my test car. The LE includes such things as dual climate control, a backup camera, cruise control, power windows and locks, and a modern Optitron instrumentation display.

2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Gauges abound to keep you informed

Step up to the SE for 17-inch alloys instead of 16-inch steel wheels. And, you get a sport tuned suspension, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power seats and other style enhancements.

The XLE gives you leather chairs, the Entune 10-speaker Audio Plus system with navigation and much more. You decide.

The EPA’s ratings are a major part of driving a hybrid. The agency claims that the Camry Hybrid gets 40 mpg city/37 highway/38 combined, which puts it in our 40 MPG Club. Compare that to the four-cylinder Camry, which earns 24 mpg city/33 highway/27 combined. I averaged a disappointing 28.9 mpg.

The 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid, unlike other Camrys, uses a continuously-variable automatic transmission (CVT). CVTs use belts instead of gears to come up with the ideal ratio anytime depending on driving conditions, including accelerating on to the freeway or starting up a hill. You can set the transmission in “B” for more regenerative braking, and the car will slow down a little when you lift off the accelerator, generating some power to recharge the battery.

You can select a driving mode—Eco, Normal, or Sport. I used Eco mostly. It mutes accelerator response and lowers the climate control to improve fuel efficiency.

The Bottom Line—And Add-Ons

2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Blending in, even with the most aggressively styled $36,000 Camry

Pricing for the LE with nothing extra begins at $27,655. The XLE starts at $31,005. But wait! You can add in a lot of extras to a Camry Hybrid. How about Safety Connect, with stolen vehicle locator and emergency assistance?  A blind spot monitor system? The Homelink transceiver and a theft alarm? The Entune Premium JBL system adds tons of features and apps. The Advanced Technology Package brings with it a pre-collision system, dynamic radar cruise control, and automatic high beams. When you start piling on the goodies, you get a test car like mine, with a $36,351 price tag.

What’s not to like about a midsize sedan like the 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid? There’s plenty of room for you and three or four other folks. You will not stand out in any way from the mass of travelers, of course, but that’s not what Camrys do. They efficiently, for their size, provide reliable transportation and a minimum of fuss.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy:

All-Wheel Drive Cars with Best Mileage

Road Test: 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid

First Drive: 2017 Kia Niro Hybrid

News: 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Becomes Fuel Economy Leader

Road Test: 2016 Toyota Prius Liftback

Road Test: 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid


Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class. We also feature those that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at







How Clean is Your Commute?

How Clean is Your Commute?

Hint: It’s Not Just MPG

To determine how clean your commute is in relation to the national and local averages, you have to consider a few points. Gas vehicles, electric vehicles, and hybrid vehicles will obviously each make different impacts as their drivers take their daily commutes, and the distance you travel to and from your home each day will also need to be considered.

However, research suggests that the most important facet for gas vehicles to take into account is not their MPG, or even the distance they travel each day, but the length of time spent commuting.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, an idling vehicle can produce just as much pollution as a driving one. Which means every one of those gas vehicles sitting in rush hour traffic is stacking up emissions, even though the miles on the odometer might not be climbing.

So how long is your commute, and how does that compare to the national average, and the average in your community? The folks at Auto Accessories Garage have come up with one way to find out. Gleaning data from the US Census Bureau, they put together this interactive map which takes your zip code and commute time, and compares them at a zip, city, and state level.

The map also calculates how much drive time you’re saving (or wasting) in your current commuting situation compared to the national average. The results may have you looking for new shortcuts along your route.

US Map

A map to compare your commute’s impact

While it’s no secret that carpooling or using transit can have a big impact on the environment, data like this make is crystally clear—especially when you consider it reduces what could be two, three, or even more commutes into one.

How Much Fuel is on the Line?

Another consideration beyond time is, how much fuel is on the line when it comes to lengthy commutes? The Idaho National Lab calculates that the average gas vehicle gets 25.5 mpg, at an average cost of $2 per gallon. That comes out to about eight cents per mile in perfect conditions, but as we all know, rush hour commuting is about as far from ‘perfect conditions’ as you can get.

This is where hybrids and fully electric vehicles can provide a valuable service. At a standstill, an EV is still using some electricity that will need to be refilled. It’s a small problem in areas where utilities are affordable, but electricity prices around the United States are wildly inconsistent.

For example, while residents of Washington pay about $25 for enough electricity to propel their EVs 1,000 miles, residents of Hawaii would pay more than $100 for the same amount of juice.

As national trends swing further in favor of hybrid and electric vehicles, the exorbitant amount of lost fuel due to stop-and-go traffic will continue to reduce. But even in an all-electric society, carpooling would still be a virtue for a number of reasons. Not the least of which, that it could reduce commute times for everybody. And who wouldn’t want that?

Road Test: 2017 Honda Ridgeline

Road Test: 2017 Honda Ridgeline

The Unconventional Pickup Truck

After taking more than a two-year time out to rethink things, Honda brought its redone Ridgeline pickup truck back for the 2017 model year. I have done a 180 in regards to the Ridgeline, and now accept it as a pickup even though it is unconventional.

First introduced in late 2005, the Ridgeline, with its unibody construction and flying-buttress C-pillar and an all-wheel drive system that operated mostly in front-wheel drive, didn’t sell as well as Honda had hoped. Honda stopped production in 2014.

I have deep pickup roots and have owned several over the years, mostly Fords, including a 1939 model and a 1952 F1 in which I swaped the flathead V-8 for a Chryselr Hemi. To me, the word pickup meant body-on-frame construction, a separate cab and cargo bed, live rear axle, north-to-south mounted engine, and, for off-road versions, a part-time four-wheel drive system that runs mostly in rear-wheel drive.

That’s the reason why, in my 2006 review, I called the Ridgeline a “pretend pickup.” It didn’t have any of the attributes of my pickup definition plus, it looked totally out of place with its flying buttress C-pillars.

Times Change; Pickups Change

As times change, so has my view of pickups. While the Ridgeline still doesn’t fit my pickup description, it has the towing, hauling and off-road capabilities that fits the needs of many pickup buyers. In the end, isn’t that what being a truck is all about?

2017 Honda Ridgeline, dadge

A new upscale edition

During the Ridgeline’s hiatus, Honda discovered that 66 percent of Toyota’s Tacoma trucks sold in the large California market were two-wheel drive models, and that 63 percent of their own Pilot crossover SUVs were front-wheel drive. That led to adding a front-drive variant to the 2017 truck, which has an EPA estimated fuel economy of 19 mpg city/26 highway/22 combined–the same as the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon equipped with smaller four-cylinder engines. Subtract 1 mpg for each of the economy estimates for the all-wheel-drive Ridgeline.

There’s a list of seven trim levels, each with more features then the last. If there’s a specific option that you want, then you get all that comes with that package, whether you want them or not. The trim levels, starting with the base model to the top end, are RT, RTS, Sport, RTL, RTL-T, RTL-E, and Black Edition. Pricing starts at $26,475 for the RT front-wheel drive and works its way up to $42,870 for Black Edition all-wheel drive.

Hey, Now It Looks Like A Real Pickup

The 2017 Ridgeline remains a five-passenger, four-door crew cab style truck, but now has a true pickup silhouette with a 90 degree transition between the cab and cargo box. That should appeal to those, like me, who found the previous model design disconcerting. Gone are the buttresses between the cab and the bed which, in addition to improving the look, also improves side access to the forward area of the truck’s cargo bed.

From the rear doors forward, the new Ridgeline is mostly a Honda Pilot. The rounded front fascia with a large chrome strip and headlights are the same shape as those on the Pilot. Where it differs from the Pilot is in the lower front fascia, where the Ridgeline has more black body cladding with fog lights integrated into it. On the backside, the new model has a conservative design that could probably belong to any other midsize truck if you removed the Honda badging.

2017 Honda Ridgeline

Honda’s rethought its pickup and upped the likeability

Looking to the rear, the Ridgeline’s bed is where the magic really happens. For 2017, Honda extended the bed’s length by four inches compared to the previous generation’s five-foot length, and widened it by five and a half inches. The composite dent-resistant bed is now wide enough to accommodate 4×8 building materials, the only midsize truck that can do so.

But wait, there’s more. A dual action tailgate drops down like a conventional pickup or swings open from the side for easy access to a locking under-floor cargo well with a drain plug. It can be used to store four sets of golf clubs or filled with ice and used as a mobile cooler. The bed has LED cargo lighting, eight standard tie-down points and can be had with a 400-watt AC inverter at the upper trim levels. That can provide enough juice to power a 60-inch flatscreen TV and more. The Ridgeline’s piéce de résistance is the industry’s first truck bed audio system (in its top RTL-E and Black Edition models). With the in-bed trunk inverter, cooler and audio system, the Ridgeline is a self-contained tailgating machine.

The 2017 Ridgeline edition continues with a car-like unibody construction. It shares its platform and chassis design with the new Pilot SUV, but about 50 percent of the four-wheel independent suspension components and the truck’s subframe have been beefed up, lightened or strengthened for the Ridgeline to better accommodate the conditions and demands of a pickup truck. While the unibody design renders superior ride and handling, it’s at the expense of some traditional truck capabilities. The 5,000-pound towing capacity falls shy of its more robust competitors, while its light-duty all-wheel drive system and 7.3 inches of ground clearance limit its off-road prowess. On the other hand, Ridgeline’s 1,584-pound payload is class leading.

Interior More SUV than Pickup

2017 Honda Ridgeline

The Ridgeline can do what most pickups do

Like the exterior, the inside of the new Ridgeline plays off the 2017 Honda Pilot SUV. The cabin boasts more inside room than competitors with 109 cubic feet of breathing split between its two rows. The interior is fitted with upscale materials that wouldn’t be out of place in a comfortable sedan with soft-touch materials everywhere. Its seats are large and comfortable and the dashboard and control panel layouts are attractive and ergonomic. Gone is the traditional column shifter in favor of a console-mounted unit. A new center console offers up a seemingly unending combination of useful storage spaces.

The rear seating area is large enough to comfortably accommodate three. The rear seats flip up and away making room for tall items like a bicycle or a flatscreen TV. When that rear seat is folded down, there’s still enough room beneath it to hide a golf bag or a pair of large backpacks.

All 2017 Ridgelines come well-equipped, with standard rearview camera, rear parking sensors, cruise control, a color LCD display screen in the dashboard, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, audio with at least 200 watts of power and seven speakers. Our AWD Black ED test driver was loaded with every feature available on the Ridgeline, including LED headlamps, moon roof, leather interior, heated front seats and steering wheel, eight-inch touch screen with navigation, premium 540-watt audio system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and HondaLink smartphone apps.

Pickups aren’t typically known for their high-tech features, but our Black Edition stepped up to the plate with the full suite of Honda Sensing driver aid technologies. These included adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with lane-keeping assisted steering, and a collision-mitigation auto-braking system with pedestrian detection. Rear cross-traffic alert and automatic high-beam assist headlamps added further driver-aid technologies.

A clever feature I almost missed is the tire fill assist. This feature works with the tire pressure monitoring system to provide an audible chirp and flash of the parking lights when any tire being filled reaches the correct pressure.

A Week with the Ridgeline

During our week with the 2017 Ridgeline, we soaked up 443 miles on a wide variety of roads. The mixed bag included city streets, two-lane highways, interstates and U.S. Forest Service trails. A rare snow storm iced up local roads a bit for a half day, and one stint saw 365 pounds of dirt in the cargo bed.

2017 Honda Ridgeline, engine

Borrowed, but working well

Immediately noticeable was the Ridgeline’s excellent forward visibility, which I attributed to the truck’s hood and fender design. Knowing that the driver aid technology helped to see what I couldn’t added to the feeling of safe and comfortable driving. Both the adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitor were welcomed.

The reengineered 280 horsepower 3.5-liter V-6—borrowed from the Pilot— was a smooth and generally quiet powerplant. With 262 pounds-feet of torque, acceleration was quite brisk, and the truck’s 0 to 60 mph time of a tad under seven seconds is tops in the midsize class, according to Honda. The six-speed automatic transmission delivered precise shifts, and kicked down without fuss when quick acceleration was needed.

Driving on city streets, the all-independent suspension combined with the unibody construction was more crossover SUV-like rather than a conventional pickup. Pot holes, railroad tracks and speed bumps were nothing to fear. The hop when going over a bump without a load experienced when driving a truck with a solid rear axle was nonexistent.

While in town driving is far more comfortable than the competition, where the Ridgeline really shows its stuff is on the highway. It is the closest to mimicking a car you will find. It smoothly and quietly ate up worn tracks in the road and expansion joints as if they weren’t there. It went where I pointed with few corrections on the steering wheel, and when more acceleration was needed to pass, there was never a lack of power. As we said back in the day, “This is a smooth moto’ scooter.”

While this was going on, the engine was quite frugal with gasoline. The V-6 is equipped with Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management, which allows the engine to operate on three cylinders under light load. The transition from six to three cylinders and back was totally seamless. Our reward was 27 mpg on an interstate drive of 167 miles where we spent much of the time at 75 mph.

Pickup trucks aren’t canyon carvers, but on a 23-mile two-lane back country stretch filled with tight off-camber S curves, the Black Edition Ridgeline was, for a pickup, fun to drive. Braking was secure when heading into a turn and the truck glided through with the aid of the all-wheel drive system’s torque vectoring. This electronic wonder actively sends power to the outside or inside wheels when cornering to reduce the turning radius.

2017 Honda Ridgeline, tailgate

It swings two ways

As for the AWD system, there’s a “Snow” mode that performed admirably on the ice-covered streets during our brief winter storm. There’s also a “Mud” mode that we put to good use during a few hours on several little-used Forest Service Trails. The AWD system wasn’t designed to tag along with a group of serious off-roaders in 4WD Chevy Colorados Toyota Tacomas or Nissan Frontiers. But, for the average user, the Ridgeline is capable of getting you where you want to go and back, if you use common sense.

As for fuel economy, well, I had a smile on my face when I gave the Ridgeline back to Honda. After those 443 miles, we averaged 21.7 mpg in a pickup truck with a V-6 engine and AWD.

The Pickup Truck for You?

You’ve probably guessed by now that I have done a 180 in regards to the Ridgeline, and now accept it as a pickup even though it is unconventional. However, it may not be the pickup for you.

Do you need to tow more the 5,000 pounds? Will you join friends in serious off-road trips? Is the Ridgline’s pricing out of your reach? If you answered yes to any of these questions, don’t even bother dropping by a Honda dealership. Instead, check out the midsize offerings from Chevrolet, GMC, Nissan and Toyota. If you can wait a couple years, Ford is bringing back its Ranger.

But, if you want a dependable and comfortable daily driver with truck features, it’s hard to beat the Ridgeline. It will fit the needs of many pickup customers and meet the demands of most who don’t require severe-duty capability. Yet there is no midsize pickup equal on the market when it comes to on-road manners and expanded utility in the bed.

Don’t just take my word on it, take it for a test drive and find out for yourself.

Related Stories You Might Enjoy:

News: Dedicated Hybrid Coming to Honda’s 2018 Truck Lineup

Road Test: 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Diesel

News: Pickups Pick Up MPG

Road Test: 2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel


Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class. We also feature those that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at

News: Toyota Sponsors Race About Efficiency, Not Speed

News: Toyota Sponsors Race About Efficiency, Not Speed

More Than 100 Compete in Prius Challenge at Sonoma Raceway

The Prius may be the icon of fuel efficiency, but that usually means you won’t find many of them at a race track. Toyota turned the tables on that recently with its Prius Challenge, held at Sonoma Raceway in northern California, where more than 100 Prius drivers competed to see who could deliver the bet mpg.

Toyota Prius Challenge

Ready to race for MPG

The event was sponsored by the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), a research subsidiary of Toyota Motor North America. Teams had to drive nine laps at the raceway and won trophies for the following achievements:

  • Highest overall MPG
  • Best use of machine learning
  • Highest single lap MPG
  • Best race strategy.

The winner, Team EcoFlow, took home the trophy by hitting 85 mpg over nine laps. Participants also had access to a driving similar built by Open Source Robotics Foundation and during the race used a proprietary coaching app to help evaluate and adjust their driving performance in real time.

Toyota Onramp Event

Toyota Prius Challenge

Tech toys like the Toyota i-Road came out to play

The Prius Challenge was part of an annual event sponsored by TRI, Toyota Onramp 2017, which included an executive roundtable discussion with media, the first public reveal of a TRI-developed research vehicle, and a variety of driving experiences for participants.

The competition also featured a special guest, Toyota Chairman of the Board Takeshi Uchiyamada. Chairman Uchiyamada is considered the father of the Prius as he was the chief engineer of the first generation Prius.

“TRI’s mission is to improve the quality of life by making use of AI technology. AI can not only improve safety and enhance mobility, but it can also help reduce traffic and time behind the wheel while enhancing fuel efficiency, which is a major theme of Prius Challenge,” said Dr. Gill Pratt, TRI CEO.

TRI Roundtable

Toyota Prius Challenge

The Roundtable covered miles of automotive technology

The roundtable featured Chairman Uchiyamada, Dr. Gill Pratt, Dr. James Kuffner, CTO; Dr. Ryan Eustice, Vice President of Autonomous Driving; Mr. Chris Ballinger, CFO and Director of Mobility Services. Earlier in the day, TRI displayed its new advanced safety research vehicle for the first time. The all-new test mule is the next step in Toyota’s 12 years of autonomous technology research and development in the United States, and will be used to explore a full range of autonomous driving capabilities. Participants also had the chance to join a professional driver for a high-speed lap around the track in a Lexus high performance vehicle. The Toyota i-Road, a three-wheel electric concept vehicle, was brought to the Onramp event again to immerse participants fully into its unique driving experiences. Toyota put together a video of the event.

TRI, which was established in 2015, aims to strengthen Toyota’s research structure and has four initial mandates:

Toyota Prius Challenge

The Toyota Research Insitute showed off some of its findings

  • enhance the safety of automobiles,
  • increase access to cars to those who otherwise cannot drive,
  • translate Toyota’s expertise in creating products for outdoor mobility into products for indoor mobility, and
  • accelerate scientific discovery by applying techniques from artificial intelligence and machine learning.

TRI plans to employ approximately 250 employees and is based in the United States, with offices in Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, CA (TRI-PAL), in Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts (TRI-CAM), and in Ann Arbor, Michigan, near the University of Michigan campus (TRI-ANN).

Related Stories You Might Enjoy:

News: Toyota’s Future Vision–the Concept-i

Road Test: 2016 Toyota Prius Liftback

Green Motorsports: A Prius with a V-8

News: Toyota Invests in Artificial Intelligence

News: Toyota U2 Concept