Engineering 101

Driving Human-Machine Collaboration

When it comes to autonomous vehicles, the push has been to replace drivers eventually, letting the car completely take over. However, the upshot of a recent presentation is that instead of unhooking the driver, a more realistic prospect is using technology to aid the driver – not replace them – creating a blend of human and machine.

The Toyota Research Institute (TRI), MIT Professor John Leonard, and Avinash Balachandran, head of TRI’s Human-Centric Driving Research Department, are working on a system called Guardian. Guardian aims to amplify the human driver, provide better performance, and make driving pleasurable.

What’s agreed upon is that there’s an upsurge in traffic accidents, and so far, there isn’t a way to use advanced technology to make cars safer today. Their point is that the human piece is critical—at least for now.

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