First Autonomous Test Vehicle Developed Entirely by Toyota Research Institute Displayed at Prius Challenge Event at Sonoma Raceway
The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) in early March displayed its 2.0 generation advanced safety research vehicle at the company's Prius Challenge event in Sonoma California. The all- new test vehicle will be used to explore a full range of autonomous driving capabilities.
Toyota's work on autonomous vehicles in the United States began in 2005 at its technical center in Ann Arbor, Mich. The company secured its first U.S. patents in the field in 2006. According to a report last year by the Intellectual Property and Science division of Thomson Reuters, Toyota holds more patents in the field than any other company.
"This new advanced safety research vehicle is the first autonomous testing platform developed entirely by TRI, and reflects the rapid progress of our autonomous driving program," said TRI CEO Gill Pratt.
The system is computationally rich, focusing heavily on machine vision and machine learning. The layered and overlapping LIDAR, radar and camera sensor array reduce the need to depend too heavily on high-definition maps - especially for near-term systems which will be designed for use in areas where such maps don't yet exist.
The platform is the second generation of the advanced safety research vehicle revealed to the public by Toyota at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show. It is built on a current generation Lexus LS 600hL, which features a robust drive-by-wire interface. The 2.0 is designed to be a flexible, plug-and-play test platform that can be upgraded continuously and often. Its technology stack will be used to develop both of TRI's core research paths: Chauffeur and Guardian systems.