Toyota has set its target on developing vehicles equipped with artificial intelligence within the next five years, with the aim of improving safety, the head of its advanced research division allegedly said.

Integrating artificial intelligence into the design of their vehicles would vastly improve safety by helping the vehicles negotiate and avoid potential accident situations, said Gill Pratt, CEO of Toyota Research Institute.

According to Reuters, Toyota said the institute will spend more than $1 billion in the next five years, in the pursuit of developing autonomous vehicles.

Current driver assistance programs rely on image sensors for obstacle evasion, including pedestrians and vehicles within the car’s lane, and Toyota is looking beyond that to equip their autonomous vehicles with capabilities to enable “the car to be evasive beyond the one lane,” said Pratt.

Pratt said this would be the equivalent of the driver having a “guardian angel” at the wheels of the vehicle.

“The intelligence of the car would figure out a plan for evasive action … Essentially (it would) be like a guardian angel, pushing on the accelerators, pushing on the steering wheel, pushing on the brake in parallel with you.”

As the race to build the ultimate self-driving vehicle heats up, more major automakers have plunged into the development of their version of the autonomous vehicle to beat the rest.