Autonomous Toyota Prius drives 3,000 miles across the US with no driver intervention

An autonomous car engineer has released a time-lapse video of a Toyota Prius driving itself over 3,000 miles with no driver involvement.

Anthony Levandowski, a former Uber and Waymo engineer, released the video as a demonstration of the autonomous system developed by his own firm, Pronto AI. It shows the car covering the 3,099-mile trip from San Francisco to New York City without prompting the driver to take over once.

Levandowski surprisingly didn’t label this as a fully-autonomous Level 4 system either – simply calling it a ‘highly-capable Level 2 system’. Full details of the modifications to the car weren’t mentioned, but it’s believed that the car navigated using only video cameras, computers and digital mapping software.

In a post on Medium, Levandowski expressed frustration with car manufacturers attempting to leap directly to Level 4 autonomy. “Road safety is not something that is well-suited to sound bytes and short attention spans,” he wrote. “It involves trade-offs and important, nuanced discussions. I am disappointed in how shallow the discourse on this front has been and continues to be.”

He also noted several trends in the industry – saying that no vehicle today is truly autonomous and calling them ‘increasingly complex and expensive demonstrations’. “Today’s software is not good enough to predict the future,” he wrote. “It’s still nowhere close to matching the instincts of human drivers.

“Traditional self-driving stacks attempt to compensate for their software’s predictive shortcomings through increasingly complex hardware. Put simply, the self-driving industry has gotten two key things wrong: it’s been focused on achieving the dream of fully autonomous driving straight from manual vehicle operation, and it has chased this false dream with crutch technologies.”

Pronto AI also announced its first product based off this technology – an advanced driver assistance system built specifically for large trucks. It will roll out to the US market in early 2019.

To get a no headaches car buying experience you can reach me:
Gabriel Rosentall – Product Advisor at Regency Toyota Vancouver
Cell: 236 863 2192 – call or text

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2019 Prius is Most Capable Yet Thanks to Available New AWD-e System

2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e

Winter is coming, and thanks to the 2019 Prius, with available new AWD-e system, there’s no need to fear it. Go further and explore more with confidence and control, no matter what the weather and road conditions are. Designed to provide more confidence and control when weather and road conditions are less than ideal, the electric all-wheel drive system further expands where the Prius can take drivers.

The new Prius AWD-e system will certainly deliver added traction and confidence for drivers but, in true Prius fashion, the 2019 AWD-e will lay claim to being one of the most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive-equipped passenger cars available in Canada thanks to manufacturer-projected fuel consumptions of 4.5 / 4.9 / 4.7 L/100 km (city/highway/combined). Toyota estimates that the AWD-e model could account for as much as 65 percent of annual Canadian Prius sales.

Toyota’s AWD-e system is ideal for Prius. The automatic on-demand system does not require a centre differential or other torque-apportioning device, nor does it need a front-to-rear driveshaft. Instead, the “e” in AWD-e stands for electric. The Prius AWD-e uses an independent electric, magnet-less rear motor (a Toyota first) to power the rear wheels from 0 to 10 km/h, then when needed, up to 70 km/h. This system provides the power to the rear wheels to pull away from a stop, yet the on-demand system recognizes when all-wheel-drive performance is not needed to provide great fuel economy.

The addition of the available AWD-e system is only part of the wider revision to the 2019 Prius, which debuts newly refined front and rear exterior styling, along with additional interior updates. Let’s not forget that the front-wheel-drive (FWD) Prius will still offer the impressive fuel economy for which it is known, with manufacturer-projected fuel consumptions of 4.4 / 4.6 / 4.4 L/100 km (city/highway/combined).

The 2019 Prius FWD will be available with Base and Technology grades, while the AWD-e model will be offered in Base, Technology and Technology with Advanced package grades. Prius will also sport two new colours for 2019, Supersonic Red and Electric Storm Blue.

The AWD-e models use a newly developed compact Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery that is designed to provide excellent performance in cold-weather conditions. The AWD-e battery fits under the rear seat area and does not impact the luggage capacity. The FWD models will tout a Lithium Ion battery.

The Prius AWD-e models offer the same 1,855 L of carrying space with the standard 60:40 split rear seatbacks lowered as other Prius models. That’s more than in some small SUVs and larger than most full-size sedans. Expanding carrying options, the Prius AWD-e will offer available Genuine Toyota Accessory cargo crossbars for roof rack attachments, such as for carrying bikes, kayaks, snowboards, or a cargo carrier. The Prius AWD-e Technology features upgraded SofTex-trimmed, heated front seats with 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat.

The SofTex-trimmed heated tilt/telescopic steering wheel on Technology grades features surface temperature-regulating properties to help make it feel more comfortable in hot or cold weather. The steering wheel also integrates switches for the audio system, Multi-Information Display, and Bluetooth hands-free phone controls.

The Prius comes standard with heated front seats, driver’s door Smart Key System, Push Button Start and remote illuminated entry. The Technology grades include Standard Smart Key System on three doors (driver, passenger and hatch). An Adaptive Front Lighting System is standard on the Technology with Advanced package grade.

Standard Toyota Safety Sense

All 2019 Prius models, including the Prius AWD-e versions, come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P). Using millimeter-wave radar and a monocular camera sensor to help detect a pedestrian, a vehicle, and lane markers and headlights in the surrounding area, TSS-P provides a comprehensive bundle of active safety features including: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/ PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/ SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).

Because all Prius models, under certain circumstances, can operate in battery mode alone, during which they make little to no noise, they incorporate a Vehicle Proximity Notification System (VPNS) to help alert pedestrians and cyclists.

High Tech Galore

All Prius models share interior features including the familiar central screen interface. The 4.2″ colour Dual Multi-Information Display with customizable screens adds an AWD-e system indicator to the menu of displays, which also includes Energy Monitor, Hybrid System Indicator and Eco Score, Eco Savings Record, Drive Monitor, Eco Wallet, Eco Diary, Climate Control, driver support systems, audio system content, and navigation system content. For the ultimate in high-tech information, the available (in the Advanced package) Colour Head-Up Display (HUD) shows the speedometer, navigation, and Hybrid System Indicator in the driver’s line of sight.

The standard audio system for AWD-e models includes a 6.1 in. touch-screen display, AM/FM CD player, 6 speakers, auxiliary audio jack, one USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and two 2.1-amp USB charge ports, advanced voice recognition, Bluetooth hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming, Siri Eyes Free, and an integrated backup camera display. The Technology with Advanced Package grade comes standard with a large 11.6” HD multimedia display.

2019 Prius Mechanical Features

The Prius AWD-e shares the Hybrid Synergy Drive system with other Prius models. The system combines the output of a 1.8-litre 4-cylinder gasoline engine and two motor/generators through an electronically controlled planetary-type continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Electronically Controlled Brake System coordinates control between the regenerative braking and the vehicle’s hydraulic brake force to provide optimal brake performance and feel.

The 2ZR-FXE 1.8-litre 4-cylinder gasoline engine is itself a paragon of high efficiency. Thanks to ultra-low internal friction and efficient combustion, it exceeds 40 percent thermal efficiency, which is among the highest in the world for a gasoline engine.

The Prius gets a good share of its fuel efficiency by cheating the wind with an ultra-low 0.24 coefficient of drag (Cd), which is among the lowest of current production passenger cars. An automatic grille shutter reduces drag by closing when airflow to the radiator is not needed. Even the air conditioning system, which uses a quiet electric compressor, works intelligently to maximize energy efficiency. The Smart-flow (S-FLOW) mode directs airflow only to seated occupants to conserve energy and maximize comfort.

Standard Bi-LED headlamps and LED rear combination lamps reduce energy consumption compared to halogens, while giving better light and having a longer service life. A backup camera comes standard on all grades, and a full-width glass panel beneath the rear spoiler aids rearward visibility while also serving as a distinctive design feature.

Toyota New Global Architecture

The fourth-generation Prius is built around the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). The platform introduced a new high-strength body structure, multi-link rear suspension and a lower centre of gravity. The result for the Prius is a highly engaging driving experience combined with exemplary ride smoothness and a quiet cabin.

Hot-stamped and high tensile steels, which allow for intricate forms that are both lightweight and strong, are used extensively throughout the body. Aluminum components, including the hood and rear doorframes and brake calipers, help keep vehicle weight low. Innovative fastening methods, including laser screw welding and advanced adhesives, contribute to structural strength.

The 2019 Prius will go on sale in Canada in the Spring of 2019.

To get a no headaches car buying experience you can reach me:
Gabriel Rosentall – Product Advisor at Regency Toyota Vancouver
Cell: 236 863 2192 – call or text

3 Busted Myths about Toyota Hybrids

The Power of Hybrid

Only hybrid technology can offer cleaner emissions, increased fuel efficiency, and surprising power. Meet the Toyota hybrid powertrain: the most proven and advanced on the planet.

Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota has always been the world leader in hybrid power.

Toyota’s patented hybrid technology gives an unmatched combination of performance, efficiency and low emissions. We offer more hybrids than any other carmaker. We’ve won the most ecoENERGY Awards, recognizing the most fuel-efficient vehicles in Canada. And since we launched the world’s first widely available production hybrid in 1997, we’ve sold more than 10,000,000 in 80 countries around the world.

Toyota hybrids give you both power and powerfully efficient performance.

That’s because Toyota’s revolutionary Hybrid Synergy Drive can operate in electric-mode only, gas-mode only, or a seamless combination of the two. A power-split device and sophisticated energy management system constantly monitor driving conditions and seamlessly manage power flows. Regenerative braking helps the battery regain charge every time you decelerate, effectively recycling energy for later use. The result is fantastic fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance — a powertrain that’s up to 70% cleaner than conventional gas engines and diesels.

Toyota Hybrid Technology

Myth #1 – Higher Maintenance Myth

Like so many hybrid myths, the idea that maintaining a Toyota hybrid is more expensive than a conventional gas vehicle simply isn’t true. In a Toyota hybrid, the engines are off some of the time, reducing wear and tear; the brakes are regenerative, saving pad and rotor life; there is no transmission fluid under load; and there are no starters, alternators or belts to be replaced. All of which can reduce the need for maintenance.

Myth #2 – So expensive

Like all Toyotas, our hybrids have great reliability records. Taxi fleets in Vancouver and Winnipeg have been using hybrids for over a decade, benefitting from superb fuel savings and low operating costs while logging millions of kms, some with over 1,000,000 kms on the odometer. Driving a Prius/Prius Prime can save you up to $2000 a year on gas, quickly making up for the small price difference when compared to a gas-powered vehicle.

Myth #3 – What if the Battery breaks down?

Did you know that over 99 percent of the hybrid vehicles we’ve sold since 2000 have never had their original battery replaced? That’s because Toyota hybrid batteries are designed to last the life of the vehicle. They’re also backed by an 8-year, 160,000km warranty.

To get all info on our hybrids and a no headaches car buying experience you can reach me:
Gabriel Rosentall – Product Advisor at Regency Toyota Vancouver
Cell: 236 863 2192 – call or text

Designed For Life In The City: The 2019 Toyota Prius c

2019 Toyota Prius C

It’s agile enough to take on downtown congestion, its low emissions mean everybody breathes a little easier, and it comes with a big bundle of standard technologies. There’s lots to love about the 2019 Toyota Prius c – the stylish and versatile hybrid that’s perfect for life in the city. New for 2019, the Prius c features an even more powerful Toyota Safety Sense C technology package plus a third model choice, making it easier to find the perfect Prius c.

“Canadian drivers love the nimble performance and impressive versatility of small hatchbacks – and they love the incredible fuel efficiency of Toyota hybrids. With the Toyota Prius c, they get it all – in a stylish and fun-to-drive subcompact that’s loaded with advanced yet easy-to-use technologies that put this vehicle in a class by itself,” said Cyril Dimitris, Vice President, Toyota Canada Inc.

Performance and efficiency take centre stage in the Prius c. Under the hood, Prius c’s Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive features a 1.5L Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder with Exhaust Heat Recovery System, plus a high-torque electric motor, powerful storage battery and sophisticated power management system. This works together with a continuously variable transmission to produce 99 net system horsepower and smooth, confident acceleration – ideal for the urban landscape. Even more impressive, Prius c sips fuel – at just 5.1 L / 100 km city/highway combined. In the city, this hybrid hatch is rated at a remarkable 4.9 L / 100 km. And all parts of the hybrid system are covered by an eight-year, 160,000 km warranty.

The Prius c is meant to be admired and projects a modern image consistent with urban living. More than just a handsome hatch, the Prius c’s body is carefully styled to maximize its aerodynamic performance – achieving a drag coefficient of just 0.28 to slip through the atmosphere for better fuel efficiency and a quieter ride. The Prius c’s wide stance contributes to nimble, athletic lane changes and cornering. And curbside, the Prius c invites admiration with its pronounced front grille, LED headlights, brake lamp and rear combination lamps, power adjustable and heated mirrors, front lower bumper spoiler and rear spoiler, and colour-keyed door handles.

The Prius c’s interior is modern and surprisingly spacious, with room for up to 484L (17.1 cubic feet) of cargo when the 60/40 split folding second row seat is stowed. Cabin features include adjustable front seats, power windows with driver’s side auto up/down function, power door locks with keyless entry, a 12v DC power outlet for personal electronics, a digital clock, dual vanity mirrors, tilting and telescoping steering wheel, and plenty of thoughtful in-cabin storage boxes and pockets.

Every Prius c features plenty of technology, too – including a touchscreen 6.1” Display Audio system with advanced voice recognition, USB audio input, Bluetooth® connectivity for personal electronics and steering wheel-mounted controls, cruise control, a 4.2” multi-information display, air conditioning with automatic temperature control, and outside temperature gauge.

Modern technology also defines Prius c’s safety package, starting with Toyota Safety Sense C. This comprehensive array of active safety systems includes the Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, and Automatic High Beams and is designed to extend driver abilities to help avoid accident situations. New for 2019, the TSS C package on the Prius c has been upgraded with the addition of Pedestrian Detection to the Pre-Collision System. Other safety technologies include the Toyota Star Safety System, a suite of nine airbags, child seat anchors and rear door locks, and a back-up camera. And because a Prius c driving in electric-only mode can be whisper quiet, a Vehicle Approach Notice system warns pedestrians and cyclists of its presence.

For 2019, the Toyota Prius c is offered in three well-equipped models, as follows:

The 2019 Toyota Prius c (Starting MSRP: $22,260) is offered with Toyota’s Upgrade Package as standard equipment. This model features a four-speaker audio system, premium fabric seats and 15” styled steel wheels.

The 2019 Toyota Prius c with Technology and Moonroof Package (Starting MSRP: $27,090) takes the hybrid hatch to the max, with enhanced technologies including a six-speaker audio system adding integrated Sirius XM satellite radio, navigation, phonebook and streaming audio via Bluetooth® and other features, plus Toyota’s Touch Tracer steering wheel-mounted controls and the Toyota Smart Key System with Push Button Start. Style and comfort get an upgrade too, with Softex-clad seats and synthetic leather instrument panel, heated front seats, 15” alloy wheels, black side rocker and wheel arch moldings, front and rear lower silver-accented body guards, LED fog lamps and (naturally) a power moonroof.

The 2019 Toyota Prius c with Technology Package (Starting MSRP: $26,170) is an all-new offering for the 2019 model year. It features all the great features of the Technology with Moonroof Package, minus the moonroof – at a lower price.

To get no headaches car buying experience you can reach me:
Gabriel Rosentall – Product Advisor at Regency Toyota Vancouver
Cell: 236 863 2192 – call or text