Does Toyota Have a Self-Driving Car?

While there’s no fully self-driving Toyota, the 2022 Lexus LS and Toyota Mirai are the first models available with Toyota’s autonomous Teammate system.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
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Toyota’s Teammate system, available on the 2022 Lexus LS 500h and 2022 Toyota Mirai models, is a Level 2 autonomous system that puts the Japanese automaker one step closer to a truly self-driving car. 
Self-driving cars are a major source of buzz in the automotive world—but just how soon can we expect autonomous vehicles (AVs) to become a part of life? 
While high-tech makes like
Tesla
are rushing to create the world’s first fully autonomous car, other automakers are catching up with driver assistance technology that’s moving a lot of familiar models closer to self-driving status.
Toyota is one of those companies—and
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has all the latest details on Toyota’s self-driving future. We've even got a tip for how you could reduce your
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Does Toyota have a self-driving car?

The short answer: Not quite, but it’s getting there. 
The long answer: Toyota is keeping safety at the heart of its self-driving technology development. In 2021,
the company announced
the introduction of its “Teammate”
advanced driver assistance system (ADAS)
for the Lexus LS 500h and the Toyota Mirai. 
Teammate, a cautious contrast to the boldly-named Tesla “Autopilot” system, is a Level 2 autonomous system. As its name implies, it doesn’t drive the car on its own, but rather enables car and driver to work together to optimize driving performance without inviting accidents. Its two core functions, Advanced Drive and Advanced Park, assist the driver in safely operating the vehicle, often in hands-free mode—but Teammate won’t let you let go of the wheel permanently. 
Here’s what Toyota’s Teammate system, optional in the US on the 2022 Lexus LS 500h and
Toyota Mirai
, can do: 
  • Perform automatic steering, acceleration, and braking in highway conditions
  • Keep a safe distance from other vehicles, change lanes, and overtake cars
  • Integrate with the navigation system to plan driving actions roughly six miles ahead
  • Maintain driver focus using a heads-up display (HUD)
  • Park the vehicle in hands-free mode
  • Detect driver posture and eye position and guide the car to the shoulder in an emergency
  • Prompt driver to take control with enough time to adjust to driving situations
Car and Driver
describes using Teammate as “similar to engaging cruise control,” which is a decent explanation of how Level 2 self-driving cars operate. With Teammate, you won’t be able to lie back and nap any more than you would with a top-notch cruise control system—but it will reduce the amount of minute-to-minute work required from you to keep the vehicle moving forward safely. 
Dynamic radar cruise control, lane tracing assist and lane departure alerts, and smart cameras with Road Sign Assist (RSA) capabilities are already part of Toyota Safety Sense™ (TSS), the sturdy suite of
driver assistance technology
found on other models. Teammate, which does more with less help, is the natural next step. 
But it’s not the end of the road for Toyota. Looking forward, Toyota announced the upcoming launch of its own operating system, to be known as
Arene
, which is slated to support autonomous driving technology by 2025.
Key Takeaway The 2022 Lexus LS 500h and the 2022 Toyota Mirai will be equipped with Toyota’s Level 2 autonomous Teammate driver assistance system. 
MORE: All about self-driving cars

How do self-driving cars work? 

When you hear the words “self-driving car,” you might picture a vehicle that zips merrily along of its own accord, with no need for a human being behind the wheel. While that might be the ultimate goal of autonomous vehicle technology, the reality is a little less futuristic—and a lot more complicated. 
Self-driving cars use a range of technologies, from video cameras and LiDAR sensors to deep learning systems and powerful algorithms, to monitor
driving conditions
, plan driving actions, and execute certain driving functions without direct assistance from humans. In simple terms, the car scans its environment and uses that data to create a dynamic map that can guide driving. 
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has defined six levels of autonomous vehicles (AVS): 
  • Level 0: No automation. The human driver is fully in control of all driving tasks at all times. 
  • Level 1: Driver assistance. Driver assistance technology handles one driving task (steering, acceleration, or braking) at a time, while the human remains in control of everything else. 
  • Level 2: Partial automation. Two or more automated functions can operate at once, but the driver must stay fully engaged. (Toyota’s Teammate is a Level 2 system.)
  • Level 3: Conditional automation. The car can drive itself under certain conditions, but the driver must be ready to take back control at any moment. 
  • Level 4: High automation. The car can drive itself under certain conditions without needing a person to intervene. 
  • Level 5: Full automation. The car can drive itself under all conditions and doesn’t require human intervention. 
We’re still years away from Level 5 self-driving cars. What’s more, the
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
warns that fully autonomous vehicles may not prevent most of the crashes that take place on US roads and highways today
MORE: How self-driving cars will affect car insurance rates
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The 10 best Toyotas with self-driving technology

Toyota may not be at the cutting edge of self-driving tech, but plenty of its cars offer driver-assistance technology that puts you a little closer to the future. Toyota’s Safety Sense™ (TSS) package comes standard on all Toyota vehicles—but at four different levels.
TSS-C, which was designed for
compact cars
, includes the following technology: 
  • Pre-collision system with vehicle and pedestrian detection
  • Lane departure alerts
  • Automatic high beams
TSS-P steps it up by adding dynamic radar cruise control (DRCC), which uses a front-facing camera and radar to maintain highway speeds and adapt automatically to other drivers’ speeds. 
TSS 2.0 offers the same functionalities but adds lane tracing assist, full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control, and road-sign assist, which will read some traffic signs and display the information for the driver. Finally, TSS 2.5 and 2.5+ build on the same six functions as TSS 2.0 with improved camera and radar technology: 
  • Pre-collision system with emergency steering assist and intersection support
  • Lane departure alerts with corrective steering
  • Automatically toggling high beams 
  • Lane tracing assist with constant steering inputs
  • Dynamic radar cruise control with curve speed management
  • Road sign assist with alerts to prevent speeding or rolling stops 
Although TSS 2.5+ doesn’t quite edge into true self-driving territory, its dynamic driver assistance comes close. It’s only available on a few recent models, but as Toyota continues to develop its autonomous driving technology, it may become standard on more vehicles
Ready to see which Toyotas offer the best in driver assistance technology? Let’s look at a rundown. 
Model
Vehicle type
Standard safety technology
Starting price
Mid-size sedan
TSS 2.5+
$26,420
Mid-size SUV
TSS 2.5+
$36,620
Full-size sedan
TSS 2.5+
$37,400
Subcompact SUV
TSS 2.5
$25,095
Full-size pickup
TSS 2.5
$37,645
Compact car
TSS 2.0
$21,200
Hatchback
TSS 2.0
$25,650
Compact SUV
TSS 2.0
$27,740
Minivan
TSS 2.0
$35,925
Mid-size SUV
TSS 2.0
$34,105
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