The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) displayed its 2.0-generation advanced safety research vehicle in Sonoma, California. The all-new test vehicle is being used to explore a full range of autonomous driving capabilities.
According to a Toyota release: “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.”
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.
Chauffeur refers to the always deployed, fully autonomous system classified by SAE as unrestricted Level 5 autonomy and Level 4 restricted and geo-fenced operation.
Guardian is a high-level driver assist system, constantly monitoring the driving environment inside and outside the vehicle, ready to alert the driver of potential dangers and stepping in when needed to assist in crash avoidance.