Toyota’s Top Supplier Sees 15-Year Wait for Self-Driving Car

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Koji Arima
Denso President Koji Arima. Source: Denso Corp. via Bloomberg

The technology to make cars fully autonomous probably won’t be established until at least 2030, according to the top supplier for the world’s biggest automaker.

The auto industry will take intermediate steps toward that future, first with safety systems that can prevent or mitigate crashes, Koji Arima, president of Denso Corp., said in an interview. The supplier to Toyota Motor Corp. will debut its first such system later this year with the automaker.

“Ultimately we will probably see the world with fully autonomous driving systems, but I think it will take a long time before we can adopt the technology,” said Arima, 57, who became president of the company this month. “We have so many types of roads that are totally different from each other.”

Denso’s assessment of the prospects for self-driving cars is less optimistic than companies including Google Inc. and Ford Motor Co., which have predicted they’ll hit roads by 2020. For now, Denso is playing a role in semi-autonomous cars by supplying radar and image sensors first to Toyota, then potentially other automakers as early as next year, Arima said.

Toyota has said the “Safety Sense P” system that Denso helped develop will alert drivers before they collide with a car or pedestrian. The system either provides additional braking force or automatically reduces the vehicle’s speed if the driver fails to brake.

Denso rose 1.5 percent to 6,396 yen at 10:21 a.m. in Tokyo trading. The shares have advanced 13 percent this year, trailing the 20 percent gain for the benchmark Topix index.

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