All of Toyota’s Latest Technologies Under One Roof│Toyota Times News

All of Toyota’s Latest Technologies Under One Roof│Toyota Times News

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Showing off all of Toyota's new technologies at once! Dodged it! I'm in! Giga casting? I'm very excited. You're baring it all. Toyota Times News Tomikawa: I'm Yuta Tomikawa for Toyota Times News. Let's change the future of cars. So says President Sato, but what future is Toyota aiming for? An event offering a glimpse of that was held the other day.

From new BEV technology to thrills for car-lovers, the development team says they showed nearly all of Toyota's latest technology. Narration: The venue was Toyota Technical Center Higashi-Fuji, Toyota's technology research base, where the public is usually not invited. Nakajima: If we show 100% of all the technology we have yet to make public, we'll run out of material, so we'll show 90%. If we show 80%, you'll complain that it's not enough.

So I've set the line at 90%. Depending on questions, that 90% might rise to 91, 2, 3 or 4% but don't be too aggressive. Narration: The theme is, "Let's change the future of cars." This event was suddenly organized just 3 weeks ago. Tomikawa: Why are you doing something you haven't done before? Nakajima: It was originally on the public stage that President Sato spoke about his visionary policy to change the future of cars.

Whether the future changes depends on having the technology to back it up. It was President Sato's idea to show that to everyone. I said, "I'm in!" and we set a date. Engineers are happiest to show off the technology they're working on.

We're always trying to communicate how things will benefit society. Tomikawa: You're having fun, but aren't you revealing a little too much? Nakajima: The things we're showing are an accomplished fact. Technology must always have an advantage. If we don't keep innovating, the technology becomes obsolete. It's a commitment to both finish what we start and to keep making new things in the future.

Narration: We got the full tour of all the new technology. Tomikawa: This is the sort of car Toyota is building. It looks like an LX. Can I get in the driver's seat? Nakazono: Yes. Go ahead.

Tomikawa: Let's get in! The interior looks ordinary as well. Nakazono: Floor it. Tomikawa: Here I go. Whoa. I've test-driven an LX, but this feels a little less smooth and powerful.

Nakazono: We haven't aligned the transmission or differential yet. Tomikawa: But the amazing thing about this car is... Nakazono: It's running on hydrogen.

Tomikawa: In other words, it's a hydrogen engine vehicle. Nakazono: Yes. Tomikawa: You made an LX with a hydrogen engine? Nakazono: Yes. We want to commercialize it. Tomikawa: You'll commercialize it? Nakazono: We still have to choose a vehicle, but we're developing an engine. Tomikawa: There isn't a single commercial hydrogen engine.

Nakazono: That's right. We, as Toyota, are trying to be the first in the world to commercialize this. Tomikawa: I got it up to 100km/h and even with such a heavy vehicle, we can see hydrogen has enough power. Nakazono: Ensuring reliability with our customers is an important part of developing, so we've got to hone the car and make it better.

That's the next stage. Tomikawa: I love the vibrations from the engine. Nakazono: The vibration doesn't change. Tomikawa: I look forward to it! How much longer until it goes on sale? Nakazono: It's still a long way off... Tomikawa: It's a white license plate. Tomikawa: It can drive on public streets.

Nakazono: It looks like a gas car. The only difference is that tubing on top. Tomikawa: Hydrogen! Nakazono: Yes. Tomikawa: Hydrogen goes through there? Nakazono: Yes. Tomikawa: Look at all the hydrogen tanks! How far can you go with 4 tanks? Nakazono: About 250 km. Tomikawa: That's plenty! You need to consider the placement, and if you switch to liquid hydrogen, that'll leave more space.

Nakazono: That's right. Tomikawa: You'll change the future of cars? Nakazono: I'll try my best. Tomikawa: This is an on-demand car? What's that? Haruyama: The driver can select the car model depending on how they feel. This is a BEV, but we can change it into an LFA, a Passo, and a Tundra.

Tomikawa: 3 cars in one vehicle? Haruyama: Yes. Tomikawa: I don't believe it. It just looks like an RZ! Haruyama: Yes. Now I'll change it to an LFA.

Tomikawa: The Lexus sportscar. Haruyama: Yes. It really speeds up. Tomikawa: I hear the sound.

Haruyama: It's starting to get that feeling. Now, go full throttle. Tomikawa: May I? Haruyama: Yes. Tomikawa: It still looks just like an RZ. But what happens when it turns into an LFA? Here I go.

Wow! What's this? I can even hear the gears changing. Haruyama: OK. Ease off on the gas. Tomikawa: Amazing. What a surprise! Haruyama: Now we'll drop down to a 1-liter engine Passo, a compact car. Tomikawa: Passo! Petit Toyota.

Haruyama: Yes. Go full throttle again. Tomikawa: Here I go. Come on! The car feels heavy! It sounds like it's struggling, too. Haruyama: The sound and the driving feel have been changed. Tomikawa: It feels more powerful than a Passo.

Haruyama: Well, we can overlook that. Tomikawa: But I can tell the difference. Haruyama: Lastly, the North American Tundra, the 1-motor hybrid. Tomikawa: A huge vehicle, right? Haruyama: Yes.

Tomikawa: Here I go. We're off! It feels like a diesel! Like a four-wheel-drive. Haruyama: Yes, it does. Thank you. Tomikawa: The sound and the ride, too, really feel similar.

Haruyama: Yes. We understand the structure of vehicles, so we can reproduce it. Tomikawa: You can enjoy it. Haruyama: Yes. Tomikawa: Will you really release a car like this? Haruyama: I really hope there's a possibility we could.

Tomikawa: How fun! Narration: The next test drive was full of new technology to thrill car-lovers! Tomikawa: Excuse me. Next is a manual BEV. Did you hear that? It's the sound of an engine. Why are you making something like this? Isami: Because it's fun. Tomikawa: Can I really use this? Isami: The car has a manual transmission right now.

Just rev the engine and the gas like that. Tomikawa: It's got a clutch. Wow, a clutch. The shift shock feels the same. Isami: It's the torque. It's normal. Tomikawa: Look when I change gears.

I'll do it again. It's exactly the same. Isami: I'd like you to try a hill start. Tomikawa: I'm not good at that. Isami: Press the clutch and take off the brake.

Tomikawa: It rolls though it's a BEV! Isami: OK. Let's see you do it. Tomikawa: I'm really not good at hill starts. Here I go. It rolls back. But this is really what happens. I revved it too much. I see how it is.

Isami: Now try putting it into sixth gear. It's the bottom right. Tomikawa: Oh, wow. Are you controlling this? Isami: Yes. It's on purpose. Put it in fourth gear. Tomikawa: You can feel it change.

Isami: Slow down a bit. You can engine brake in fourth. Tomikawa: Really? Isami: Yes. Now if you press the clutch, you'll coast and slow down. Tomikawa: It really does. Isami: Now when you put it in gear...

Tomikawa: I can really feel the engine brake. Isami: After playing with the manual and you can't be bothered any more, it switches to automatic with a button. Now it's automatic.

You don't need this. Just apply the gas. Tomikawa: Oh, yeah! Amazing! Say the husband enjoys driving manual, but the wife prefers automatic transmission, you can change it with a button. This is really fun. Full of playful elements. Commercialization? Isami: I'll try my best. Tomikawa: Could it be commercialized? Isami: I'm working towards that.

Tomikawa: I just felt like I had to apply the clutch. It surprised me for a second. This would sell. Isami: Thank you very much. Tomikawa: I'm here to experience the latest in automatic parking.

Many cars already have standard automatic parking systems. Horiguchi: Yes. Tomikawa: So I don't think I'll be too surprised with this.

I won't be surprised? Horiguchi: I think you will. Automatic parking has been possible with clearly drawn parking slots or where the car just has to swivel to park. But in the case of tight turns and long reverse parking like this... Tomikawa: Hang on a second. I won't go near that spot first? Horiguchi: No.

Horiguchi: You'll start here and park over there. Tomikawa: No way. Horiguchi: The system stores the driver's actual parking movements.

In a family, people have different skill levels. The car learns the movments of the skilled driver, so the others can auto park. It makes things easier for people who don't like parking. That's the concept. Tomikawa: I see. Narration: Mr. Horiguchi parks the car, and the system stores it. Tomikawa: Ah, very skillful. He went straight in.

The car stores the maneuvers used to park. Now the car has learned. I'll sit in the driver's seat, do nothing, and park the car. Horiguchi: Shall we raise the difficulty level a bit? For example, someone might leave a bicycle or bucket in the way. Even in those cases, it doesn't only retrace the memorized route but avoids the obstacle, automatically adjusting the route while parking. Tomikawa: I'm doubtful.

Horiguchi: It'll be OK. Tomikawa: Alright. I'm going to put it in drive. Something popped up. It identified a stored route and wants to help. I've released my foot. We're in Advanced Parking now.

It's moving. Horiguchi: Check around to make sure it's safe. Tomikawa: The steering wheel is moving. The steering wheel is moving! The speed is the same as the last time. It's reproducing how you drove earlier.

Horiguchi: Yes. Tomikawa: We've approached the obstacle. We'll hit it. The wheel turned to the right.

Dodged it! It's avoiding it. Wow. Won't we be off track now? It's adjusting for the difference. Horiguchi: It's going into the space. Tomikawa: Please apply the brake. I did. I check once and then release the brake, and it moves.

I'm releasing it. It goes pretty fast. It's not uncertain at all. It stopped beautifully. Amazing.

Isn't this amazing? That obstacle is static. But what if a child runs out? Horiguchi: The system will apply the brake and stop the car to ensure safety. We're developing it so it commences the parking sequence once it's safe again. Tomikawa: This is great news for people who dislike parking! Horiguchi: Thank you very much.

Tomikawa: It can do it over a long distance and even avoid obstacles. Really amazing. A wheelchair? Inoue: This is the JUU wheelchair that can climb stairs. Tomikawa: It can climb stairs? How? Inoue: The seat slides back and leans over. On a flat surface, it moves as it is...

Tomikawa: So I don’t fall? Inoue: Yes, so you don’t fall forwards. In staircase mode, what we call a shift, a tail-like device comes out the back, the 2 back wheels are stowed, and it's supported by the 2 front wheels and the tail. If you push the joystick, it'll climb the stairs. Tomikawa: I'm scared there will be impact. Is it OK at this speed? Inoue: It's fine. It doesn’t go that fast so you can push it fully forward. Tomikawa: It's smooth! Inoue: If you like, you can reverse now...

Tomikawa: No way. That's scary. Inoue: Trust me. It's fine. Tomikawa: Are you sure? Here I go. Oh, it feels secure. Inoue: It'll go down now, but that's how it feels.

Tomikawa: There's very little impact. Inoue: Yes. It goes down smoothly. Tomikawa: Very smooth.

Narration: Let's try an even higher step. Inoue: It's twice the last step, so it's 16cm. Tomikawa: It's going! Inoue: I'd like you to stop, and now, slowly back down. Tomikawa: Backing up is scary! Inoue: You're fine. Tomikawa: It's this steep! Inoue: The tail will support you.

Tomikawa: Oh, that's so scary! It's not scary at all once it starts moving. It goes slowly. Inoue: It doesn't shake that much. Tomikawa: Not at all. Wow.

You're an automotive company. What's the point of doing R&D on wheelchairs and mobility like this? Inoue: Under Mobility for All, we're shifting to a mobility company, so we're trying to provide mobility for disabled persons to produce happiness for all. That's why it's meaningful. Tomikawa: After trying it, I feel the minimal impact, the balance, and freedom must be thanks to the technologies developed by an automotive company. Inoue: Yes. By using actual car parts, we can incorporate our reliability and technologies in the development.

Tomikawa: What is your goal? Inoue: I want everyone to use it, not only disabled people but older adults and even us. That's the mobility I want to create. Hanaoka: Arene OS is a cutting-edge software platform. We've developed software for many vehicles and want to deliver new value to customers.

It's set to be implemented on the next generation of global mass-market models, and it's continuing to evolve looking ahead to BEVs beyond that. Narration: We'll experience Arene's voice recognition technology. Tomikawa: Isn't it already quite evolved in cars? How is Arene different from Apple OS or Google OS? Inoue: Arene is software that exists separately from the vehicle and electronic platforms.

The difference with other OS is that it's easier to develop as it absorbs a lot from those other platforms. Next-generation voice recognition Tomikawa: It's like a secretary. Tomikawa: He likes sushi. Tomikawa: You're being difficult. Tomikawa: You can talk in the middle of a conversation? Tomikawa: Oh wow.

Tomikawa: Amazing. It feels so real as it replies even if you interrupt it in the middle of speaking. Tomikawa: Amazing. I wasn't expecting much, but this is on another level. Hanaoka: Thank you. Tomikawa: What do you see for the future of batteries? Kaita: I'm from Planet Battery, and I don’t know.

Tomikawa: I'm sure it's clear in your mind but... in layman's terms? Kaita: Sure. Thank you. This is the original Prius battery, not something you see much now, but it was quite big. We worked hard, getting hounded by our bosses, and reduced the cost to one sixth.

In terms of size, it’s now quite compact. Tomikawa: This is the current size. Kaita: Power has also increased by 25% making it small but mighty. In terms of the future of BEVs, we've increased load and range efficiency and made the battery more powerful, but our target is to increase the cruising range to twice that of the bZ4x. We want to reduce cost by 20% for the same energy amount.

Tomikawa: Is it OK to tell us this? Kaita: Is it OK? Cost is OK, right? Like the 20%? Woman: It's out there... Kaita: It's fine. They said it's fine.

Tomikawa: Mr. Nakajima earlier said that we'd see 90%, but from that conversation I feel it's over 90%. Kaita: About 102%. Tomikawa: You're baring it all. Kaita: Nothing is sacred. This as another form of next-generation BEVs. Tomikawa: I see. Range is limited, but cost is significantly lower.

Kaita: That's right. This version increases the range from the bZ4x and reduces the cost in a collaboration between car and kaizen. Tomikawa: Electric vehicles have this image of being expensive, so by lowering cost, this battery leads to ease of purchase and use. You have to consider the choice between emphasizing performance or availability. You're serious about BEVs.

Kaita: That's right. We were always serious about it, but we were unable to communicate that effectively. Tomikawa: When do you expect this to be commercialized? Kaita: About 2026 to 2027.

We currently have the bipolar nickel hydrogen battery. We developed this so as to use it in BEV lithium-ion batteries. Putting one of these down makes it a single cell, so part numbers are reduced, and it's compact. A massive cost reduction. Tomikawa: I see.

Narration: The center of attention was the all-solid-state battery. Compared to the performance version, it's a game-changer with under 10min charge time and 20% increased range. It was initially meant for HEVs, but development was accelerated for use in BEVs. They're attempting to have it commercialized by 2027 to 2028. Hydrogen was also packed full of new technology.

Tomikawa: What's this multi hydrogen tank concept? Narration: This is the current gaseous hydrogen tank, known for its cylindrical shape. However, the tank presented here, while we cannot show it, was a completely different shape. Hamamura: President Sato and VP Nakajima, both with technical backgrounds, called me in and asked me why the tank has to be circular when we're trying to make ever-better cars. They both know the reason. This is best for strength.

But I let it slip that I'd obviously change it. Tomikawa: This is the shape? Hamamura: That's what we're aiming for. Then, most cars will be able to use hydrogen. Tomikawa: In their current forms? Hamamura: That's right. Tomikawa: You could replace a gas engine for a hydrogen one? Hamamura: There's a possibility. It's very difficult technically, and it has never been done.

But I'm excited that I'm being given that opportunity. This is the third-generation cell. Durability is up 2.5 times, and the cost is halved. Fuel efficiency will increase 20%. Tomikawa: Full of positives! Hamamura: Toyota has been developing fuel cells for 30 years. When you do it for 30 years, you know what sort of reactions are possible.

There're infinite combinations and chemical reactions, so if you do experiments to check each outcome, it takes a lot of time, and development costs soar. You can reduce development time and cost by calculating all this. This technology is thanks to our predecessors. Tomikawa: We must make the most of it. Was it OK to show all this? Hamamura: My heart was pounding! The numbers, too.

Tomikawa: You were worried? Hamamura: We decided to release it as it's built on our predecessors' work. Tomikawa: It's a challenge for you to communicate all this, too. You're testing the limits and going over it a little... Excuse me. Mr. Shingo, what are you doing here? Shingo: I'm now in charge of production. Do you have a moment to hear me out?

Tomikawa: What zone is this? Shingo: We call it giga casting. "Press working" on the left is the conventional method. A lot of sheet metal is welded together to create the rear part of the car. The wheel goes here. There are 86 parts and 33 processes.

It takes time, but in this case, we make one part in one process. Tomikawa: There aren't any joints. Shingo: You melt the aluminum, pour it all into a mold, and it's made in about 100 seconds.

Tomikawa: How long does this one take? Shingo: There are 33 processes, so about 30 to 40 minutes. Tomikawa: That can now be made in 100 seconds. Shingo: We always had the notion of making cars using current equipment and lines. But BEV startups are making cars from scratch these days.

We learned from that and realized you can do all these things if you start from scratch. A new way to make cars by combining these methods and fundamental technology. Tomikawa: When will it be ready to use? Shingo: We're thinking of using it with the next-gen BEVs. Tomikawa: So, very soon? Shingo: Yes.

Very soon. Imagine things moving along on a conveyor belt, but even without a conveyer, if this has a battery and motor attached, it can move along by itself without anything being attached to it. So you can make a line with just this to assemble along without a conveyer belt. Tomikawa: How much will total productivity rise? Shingo: We're saying double the productivity, but you can also halve the space, processes, and production speed, so we are working hard with 2 as the keyword. Tomikawa: It's a new era. Shingo: Yes.

We'll get it out quickly. Tomikawa: A declaration. Shingo: Aluminum requires a lot of electricity.

By recycling, you can actually reduce CO2. By using parts and machining technology as a set, we're trying to create more precise cars and enhance performance. The running and production crews never had a chance to discuss this until now. Tomikawa: These ideas also show up on the plant floor? Shingo: Yes. Honestly, at times certain cars were made because they were easy to make. But now, we're looking to make cars that satisfy the customer as a team. The way we think is shifting in that direction.

Tomikawa: Everyone looks happy. See! I see lots of smiling faces. Employee: I'm having a lot of fun meeting people. Tomikawa: You're all from different departments? Motomachi Plant. Vehicle Quality Div. Raw Material Development Div. Advanced Product Development Div.

Oh wow. I thought you were all part of the same department. This is how new ideas are created. Shingo: Automated giga casting! Tomikawa: I see.

Narration: The BEV and Hydrogen Factory presidents stood in public for the first time and answered questions. What is the future of cars they aim for? Tomikawa: So, you two are going to work really closely together? Yamagata: That's right. We were already good friends anyway. Tomikawa: Oh, really! Kato: That's why we're here together. Tomikawa: Toyota is charging down a multi-pathway approach for carbon neutrality and is trying to create all sorts of different versions of BEVs for multiple generations. Kato: In China, the driver has very little decision-making power when it comes to buying cars, and they buy what the rest of the family wants. Regions have their own culture, so with BEVs we have to answer the needs of the customer and the same with others like hybrids and FCEVs, which is something I feel only we can do.

Over 80 years, we've done everything from manuals to autos to BEVs, and even racing, so I feel the value we get from that is we can do it better than anyone. Yamagata: We'll start by making things that customers say they want. The biggest demand is from the commercial sector. Large trucks carrying heavy loads use a lot of fuel.

That's a weakness of BEVs, as their batteries get very heavy. Hydrogen's strength is commercial, which is a heavy user. We want to take a large number of hydrogen vehicles together over to Europe, China, and the US.

If we do that, they could also move towards using hydrogen cars and stoves, and spread like that. We want to start by supporting mass usage with Toyota technology. It would be good if we could fit it to each region. Hydrogen's strength is in large scale storage, such as for entire towns, so hydrogen has a bright future. Also, don’t you think hydrogen is cool? It's green. It sounds cool if you can say you drive a hydrogen car, so we'll dream of that as we move forward.

Narration:Toyota technology I had never seen. We'll continue to bring you all the initiatives Toyota is working on that you can only see here. Toyota Times News

2023-08-06 23:36

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