Artificial Intelligence, neural links, and brain chips, all of these have one thing in common…they learn. Different types of AI learn as they operate. For instance, in a Tesla, the autopilot may go over the same pothole 4 times and then on the 5th, it goes around. This is because it knows that at this very location, there is a pothole that needs to be avoided. Some cars already have something similar called an adaptive gearbox. While not the same, the gearbox learns your driving habits and adapts that after a few trips to your car’s everyday practices.
A recent post on Facebook’s Toyota RAV4 Hybrid group showed how new owners won’t really see their true MPG until the car’s computer learns how and where you drive. For instance, let’s say I drive my car every day to work, and I take the highway for 8 miles. If I bought my car yesterday, it isn’t going to know the true settings to tune itself to because it has probably never been on that highway. Therefore, after a few trips, I start to see my average MPG rise from the high 20s to mid-30s to even high 40s.
Andrew Rook asked on the Facebook group, “So I’m starting my third tank of gas and learned a bit in my first month of having my first hybrid. The first tank got me 39.11 mpg using eco. The second tank was 34.98 using normal.”
So, if we take his starting MPG, we can see that over time (driving) the car starts to learn Andrew’s habits and it adapts itself to them. This causes the car to now spend less gas and be more efficient. So how does the car do it?
Well, it’s kind of like doing algebra. When you layout your algebraic equation, you do it step by step. You use a lot of paper, and your work starts to look like a Christmas tree. Over time, however, you see that there are shortcuts you can take like factoring both sides at the same time or maybe doing some of the math in your head. This is the learning part that the 2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid does. In the end, instead of using half the paper for one equation, you know do it in 4 lines. This is where your RAV4 Hybrid starts to be more efficient.
Now of course your car isn’t going to always stay at 40MPG. If you are climbing a hill or maybe flooring it to merge into a lane, you may see a significant drop in MPG. This is solely for the purpose of overall driving.
Do I see this as the future? Definitely. One of my neighbors recently bought a Tesla Model Y which he said is always making noises when charging or making whining sounds. He also said that after driving it a few times, the car learned that there are potholes or little curves and the assistive driving helped him drive more efficiently instead of decreasing his range.
This is definitely the future of adaptive driving and automotive artificial intelligence. Sooner, we will start to see cars that can talk to each other. Who knows, maybe in a few years the other 2022 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid will tell yours that there is a pothole ahead so you can avoid it.
Speaking of Toyota, check out our latest article on the 4Runner and how people don't want change.
What do you think? Should Toyota pursue more in-depth research in automotive artificial intelligence? Let us know in the comments below
Harutiun Hareyan is reporting Toyota news at Torque News. His automotive interests and vast experience test-riding new cars give his stories a sense of authenticity and unique insights. Follow Harutiun on Twitter at @HareyanHarutiun for daily Toyota news.