Many auto manufacturers have invested heavily in self-driving vehicles. Many analysts believe this is the way of the future, with full autonomous vehicles a possible reality within the next 10 years.

While the Toyota brand has also made some investments in this area, it is taking a slower and steadier approach. Instead, the brand is placing a heavier emphasis on safety technology.

According to Gill Pratt, who heads the Toyota Research Institute, it is unnecessary to invest too heavily in level 5 autonomous cars at this stage in the game.

A level 5 vehicle is a car with full self-driving capabilities, meaning zero human input required. No prototype of such a model exists as artificial intelligence technology just hasn’t reached that point yet. Some brands, though, are testing level 3 cars, which allows hands-free driving but still require a driver to take control in some situations.

Pratt says that the technicians for the auto brand is indeed working on self-driving cars, but it’s in no hurry to reach level 5 capability. Instead it’s focusing more heavily on reducing road casualties.

The auto brand has already released a suite of accident avoidance systems. The short-term goal is to release a level 2 car by 2020. One accompanying technology for this is Highway Teammate. With this feature, the self-driving comes into play during maneuvers like merging and changing lanes on a busy highway.

The automaker also has a generous $1 billion budget for working on such technology.

Visit Automotive News Europe to read Pratt’s interview.

Visit Toyota Chula Vista today. Models like the 2018 Toyota RAV4 obviously require full human controls, but it may someday have level 5 capabilities.  Until then, check out our Toyota car specials near San Diego, CA, for the latest models.