TORONTO, ONTARIO, November 8, 2017 - According to Larry Hutchinson, President and CEO of Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI), the autonomous vehicle is a great opportunity for the automotive industry and will change society as we know it. Just don’t expect it to happen tomorrow.
Hutchinson shared his point of view on the future of mobility with a room full of Canadian automotive industry influencers as a keynote speaker at today’s 2017 TalkAUTO conference.
Having just celebrated 31 years at TCI, Hutchinson fully understands the extent to which technology has shaped the past three decades of the automotive industry. Still, he thinks we’ve never seen the pace of change that we’re seeing right now.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a better, more exciting time to be a part of the automotive industry,” he said. “Automated vehicle technology is going to revolutionize mobility – and transform society – in ways more profound than the move from the horse-drawn carriage to the Model T.”
While he stressed that, for Toyota, the primary goal of vehicle autonomy is its impact on safety (“Safety improvements alone justify the investments being made”), he also noted that safety is just one of the benefits. Among other improvements, Hutchinson mentioned more fluid traffic flow and streets free of congestion, as well as increased mobility for many segments of our population.
“Think about the life-changing impact autonomous vehicles will have on the millions of people who have mobility challenges: older people, people with disabilities and people who can’t afford their own car. In the future, they’ll have access to mobility we just can’t provide today.”
Toyota has been an industry leader in the space of automated vehicle technology research and development since the early 1990s. They’ve invested billions of dollars in R&D and, according to a 2016 report by Thomson Reuters, have more patents in the field than any other company. And their customers are already benefitting from it. By the end of 2017, Toyota Safety Sense or Lexus Safety System + advanced vehicle safety technology will be standard on almost 95% of the Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in Canada.
But Hutchinson stressed that his company’s focus isn’t on getting there first. It’s on getting it right.
“How safe is safe? When do we decide it’s okay to roll a technology out into millions of vehicles?” he asked. “For us, it’s clear: Safety is paramount. So nothing goes on or into a Toyota until it’s proven.”
Hutchinson highlighted some of the challenges facing the industry:
Automakers, governments and other industry stakeholders – many of whom were in the room to hear Hutchinson’s keynote address – have already started on their journey to providing Canadians with automated vehicle technologies. He stressed that they will need to continue to work closely together to make it happen.
“It’s going to take the combined efforts of governments, insurance companies, manufacturers, and all kinds of other players to make the mainstream adoption of autonomous vehicles a reality,” Hutchinson emphasized. “We need to start laying the groundwork today for what will be on our roads tomorrow.”
Alice Young Jeon
Consultant, Corporate Communications
Toyota Canada Inc.
Manager, Corporate Communications
Toyota Canada Inc.
About Toyota Canada Inc.
Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) is the exclusive Canadian distributor of Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Toyota has sold over 5 million vehicles in Canada through a national network of 287 Toyota and Lexus dealerships. Toyota is dedicated to bringing safety, quality, dependability and reliability in the vehicles Canadians drive and the service they receive. TCI’s head office is located in Toronto, with regional offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Halifax and parts distribution centres in Toronto and Vancouver. Toyota operates two manufacturing facilities in Canada. Having produced more than seven million vehicles, popular Canadian models built at these facilities include Toyota RAV4, Toyota Corolla, Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h hybrid.
Every effort has been made to ensure the product specifications, equipment, and content on this site are accurate based on information available at time of publishing. In some cases, certain changes in standard equipment or options may occur, which may not be reflected online. Toyota Canada reserves the rights to make these changes without notice or obligation.