How It Works

In simple terms, here's how Toyota's all-wheel drive tech works in the 2020 Camry

The all-wheel drive system of the 2020 Toyota Camry was put to the test in Park City, Utah in early February by the AutomotiveMap team.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Toyota introduced its first all-wheel drive Camry in decades this year. They have made all-wheel drive an option for the 2020 Toyota Camry LE, SE, XLE, and XSE. Pricing has not yet been announced but will be revealed before the models go on sale later this year.

The 2020 Camry, along with the 2021 Toyota Avalon, has dynamic torque control all-wheel drive.

Mechanically this means that the car has two axles that each attach to two wheels. The axles are connected by a drive shaft.

2020 Toyota Camry Park City Utah course When wheels start slipping, the car's all-wheel drive system kicks in.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

At the intersection of the front axle and drive shaft is the transmission and a single speed transfer case. The transfer case is a mechanical device that transfers power from the transmission to the front and rear axles via the drive shaft.

At the intersection of the drive shaft and the rear axle, there is a differential. The differential is a set of gears that allows the car's wheels to revolve at different speeds.

On the drive shaft, between the differential and intersection of the drive shaft and transfer case is a coupler. The coupler doesn't sit in the middle, but rather about two-thirds of the way back toward the differential. The coupler is there to provide a mechanical backup in case one of the sets of wheels in the vehicle starts to slip. When this happens, the coupler applies additional torque to the non-slipping wheels in an effort to keep the car going in the direction the driver intended rather than the direction the skid is trying to force the car to go.

2020 Toyota Camry Park City Utah course The Camry has part-time all-wheel drive allowing drivers to take advantage of the technology as needed.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

In some vehicles, torque can be delivered to one, two, three, or all four wheels to varying degrees depending on what the road conditions require. In the Camry, the torque can only be delivered in equal amounts to both rear wheels.

Not all all-wheel drive systems operate all of the time. The ones that don't are called part-time all-wheel drive systems. This allows the driver to receive the benefits of an all-wheel drive system as well as the fuel efficiency that comes with front- or rear-wheel drive when the conditions are right.

2020 Toyota Camry Park City Utah course When traction is lost in either the front or back, Toyota's all-wheel drive system applies more torque to the wheels with traction to keep the car driving in the right direction.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

In the Camry's case, when the all-wheel drive system is not enabled, the car runs as a front-wheel drive model. This is the same as Camrys not equipped with all-wheel drive.

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New Amazon Fire TV for Auto technology is debuting in the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are set to be unveiled soon. Ahead of those debuts, Jeep has announced that those vehicles will be the first in the industry to integrate Amazon Fire TV for Auto.

Amazon Fire TV for Auto will give Wagoneer family occupants access to their favorite shows, movies, apps, unique vehicle features, and Alexa. It will communicate directly with the SUV's Uconnect 5 infotainment operating system. Just like in other Amazon devices, content syncs with an existing Amazon account. This means that customers will be able to pause a show in their home and seamlessly continue watching once they get into their vehicle.

"The all-new 2022 model-year Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are designed and engineered to set a new standard for American premium in the large SUV segment," said Christian Meunier, Jeep® Brand Chief Executive Officer - Stellantis. "Launching Fire TV for Auto as an industry-first technology to the Wagoneer lineup illustrates one of the many ways we intend to deliver class-leading technology and connectivity to our customers."

Amazon The screen for Amazon Fire TV for Auto looks very similar to what you'd see on a TV at your home.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Amazon

Fire TV for Auto builds on the Fire TV experience that exists today with unique features that include:

  • Passengers can view Fire TV in high definition from the rear seats and the front passenger screen (a privacy filter disables driver viewing). When the vehicle is in park, the driver also can view Fire TV on the main Uconnect 5 screen
  • Touchscreen controls and support for compatible content can be downloaded on trips where wireless service is limited or to save on data
  • A Fire TV for Auto-specific remote provides control of the experience and includes push-to-talk access to Alexa, making it easy to find and quickly play shows
  • The remote includes a button that connects Fire TV with the new Uconnect 5 system for control of vehicle features, such as climate, maps and more

"We reimagined Fire TV for the automobile with a purpose-built experience that delivers the best in entertainment, anywhere you go," said Sandeep Gupta, Vice President and General Manager of Amazon Fire TV. "With Fire TV built in, customers can stream their favorite shows, see if they left the lights on at home with Alexa, and take advantage of unique controls through the Uconnect system."

Fire TV for Auto will be packaged with other connected services and made available in fall 2021 in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

This isn't the first time a Stellantis company has been on the cutting edge of in-vehicle tech. Jeep's stablemate, Ram, was the first to integrate SiriusXM 360L into a vehicle, its 2019 Ram 1500.

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San Jose Hotel engineering manager Rocky Ontiveros, 60, wears a Texas mask on March 3, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott announced a new executive order that will end the statewide mask mandate and allow businesses to reopen at 100 percent capacity on March 10, 2021.

Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

Reporting by Automotive News indicates that despite Texas Governor Greg Abbott's executive order lifting the mask mandate statewide and allowing businesses to begin operating at 100-percent capacity again, automakers aren't changing their tune.

This executive order rescinds most of the Governor's earlier executive orders related to COVID-19. The original orders were put in place as a response to rising COVID-19 cases, and related hospitalizations and deaths, in 2020.

The new order removes state regulations and allows private businesses and individuals to decide on their mask wearing protocol and habits. There are currently mask mandates in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

There are fallbacks in place. A release from the Governor's office states, "If COVID-19 hospitalizations in any of the 22 hospital regions in Texas get above 15% of the hospital bed capacity in that region for seven straight days, a County Judge in that region may use COVID-19 mitigation strategies. However, County Judges may not impose jail time for not following COVID-19 orders nor may any penalties be imposed for failing to wear a face mask. If restrictions are imposed at a County level, those restrictions may not include reducing capacity to less than 50% for any type of entity."

Toyota

Toyota, which has a factory in San Antonio, Texas told a reporter with Automotive News that they are looking into the move but don't anticipate any immediate changes to their mask-wearing protocol. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas, Inc. employs 2,542 people and makes the midsize Tacoma and full-size Tundra pickup trucks.

The automaker as has its North American headquarters in Plano, Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas. That facility employs around 4,400 people, most of whom have been working remotely for the better part of a year.

"The early read is – no change for us," said Scott Vazin, Group Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for Toyota Motor North America, when approached for comment by Automotive News.

Toyota assembly plants traditionally offers tours of its facility to the general public. Due to COVID-19, plant tours have been suspended at all Toyota manufacturing facilities including those in San Antonio; Jackson, Tennessee; Blue Spring, Mississippi; and Troy, Missouri.

General Motors

General Motors (GM) has a big footprint in Texas. The company employs 8,133 people in the Lone Star State and works with 297 suppliers in the state across 13 facilities. Additionally, as of 2020, there are 588 GM dealership franchises in Texas.

The company's Arlington Assembly plant is home to every new full-size SUV in GM's product lineup sold globally: the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, and the Cadillac Escalade. GM Financial is headquartered in Fort Worth and one of GM's IT Innovation Centers is located in Austin. Assembly plants get much of their power from wind energy harvested from Cactus Flats and Hidalgo wind farms.

There are GM Financial centers in San Antonio, Arlington, and Sugar Land; a customer service center in Austin; a parts distribution site in Fort Worth; GM Financial headquarters in Fort Worth; a commercial lending office and the South Central Regional Office are in Irving.

Patrick Morrissey, Director, Corporate News Relations at GM, told Automotive News, "We'll keep our COVID safety protocols in place to ensure we continue to protect our employees."

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