Vision 2020: Future of Mobility With Toyota Leader

Driverless cars and other technologies are just around the corner

New ways to get around are just around the corner and Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz revealed Friday what his company is working on.

In an exclusive interview with NBC 5 after a Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Lentz said technology already existed for "connected cars." They could help drivers with navigation, appointments and maintenance.

'Does it need an oil change? Do the tires need replacing? All of that data can be downloaded at night," Lentz said.

Drivers could also soon see safer cars that automatically correct driver errors.

"We believe the next prudent step is what we call 'guardian mode,' where you will be in control of your car driving, and if you're going to make a mistake, the car will stop you from doing that," Lentz said.

Autonomous vehicles that drive themselves are already being tried in Frisco and Arlington. Communication improvements are being developed to expand the use of autonomous vehicles.

Years ago, the thinking was that roadways would need technical changes to support driverless cars. Now, Lentz said faster wireless or new radio communication were likely methods to allow autonomous vehicles to communicate with each other and detect existing road conditions.

"So it's going to be the intelligence, the artificial intelligence in cars and sensors on vehicles that are going to be able to constantly scanning the environment,” Lentz said.

Uber has announced it will use Dallas as one of two locations in the world to test flying car technology that would avoid roads entirely. Lentz said Toyota is working on flying cars, too.

"We have a small group in Ann Arbor, Michigan that's working on a flying car. We've got a couple patents already. But, I think the concept of a flying car is quite a ways down the road," he said.

Safer vehicles and other new technology in the works at Toyota like robotics could save millions of lives, Lentz said.

He told the Chamber of Commerce crowd that Toyota employees are very pleased with their new Plano headquarters, which provides much faster commuting times from affordable neighborhoods than their previous headquarters in Southern California.

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