Toyota Motor Corporation and DENSO Corporation are jointly developing an on-board communications network device, CAN-Gateway ECU, that can take data gathered while driving and apply it to create a virtual simulation that enables a new way to enjoy driving.
The CAN-Gateway ECU captures driving data — including GPS data, accelerator pedal strokes, steering angles, brake operation signals, gear shift signals, engine rpm count, water temperature, and vehicle speed — from a dedicated on-board GPS as well as CAN information exchanged among on-board ECUs. The device can wirelessly transmit (by Bluetooth) the data to software installed on smartphones or other devices for real-time monitoring. As this data is accumulated, it can serve as a driving coaching guide.
Furthermore, software makers can use the data to create games or a wide variety of other software using standard creation tools, with no need to deal with the complicated nature of the onboard CAN protocol.
The CAN-Gateway ECU can be fitted to the Toyota “86” rear-wheel-drive compact sports car. It is scheduled to be tested in Japan in spring 2013 by people active in car racing, before the scheduled Japan launch at the end of 2013.
Further development is under way to enable vehicle data from drives on major circuits in Japan such as Fuji Speedway to be recorded onto USB flash drives for input into the racing game Gran Turismo, a PlayStation 3 home entertainment console title. Driving scenarios can then be recreated with the data and run simultaneously with other data to enjoy real-time, side-by-side track-run comparisons. Additionally, the user can reproduce aspects of a drive on a circuit such as the steering path taken, and where and when the brakes and accelerator were used, in the game for analysis and critique.
USB memory data format and Bluetooth transmission protocol will be finalized after Toyota and DENSO review feedback with Polyphony Digital Inc., Densan System Co., Ltd. and other software makers, taking their expertise into account before specifications are finalized. Following this, information necessary for connecting to the CAN-Gateway ECU will be gradually made available to other software makers, DENSO said, thereby allowing for even broader development of software that explores new ways of enjoying cars.