Renesas said on Tuesday that it would supply chips for an autonomous highway driving system to be installed in Toyota's production cars by 2020.
The company will provide a system-on-chip to act like the electronic brain of Toyota's vehicles, calculating their location on the road and plotting safety maneuvers almost instantly. The system will allow cars to merge, change lanes, and pass other cars on the highway while under the driver's supervision.
The R-Car chip will be embedded in an electronic control unit manufactured by Denso. The other chip, called RH850, will take instructions from the R-Car system to control functions like acceleration, steering and braking. The microcontroller also provides functional safety to protect the R-Car chip from hardware failures.
Toyota has moved leisurely in the race for fully autonomous cars, targeting technologies that lend a helping hand to drivers rather than obviate steering wheels and brakes. Automakers like General Motors and Ford both aim to have self-driving cars on sale by 2021. Audi is currently selling cars with a low-speed autonomous highway driving mode.
“We are partnering with Denso and Renesas, who bring superior technology and expertise to this project, with the aim to accelerate the development of autonomous-driving vehicles and encourage early adoption,” said Ken Koibuchi, Toyota's executive general manager, in a statement.