Automaker will test dangerous driving scenarios
Toyota will build its own test facility for autonomous vehicles on a 60-acre plot of land, the automaker announced today.
Toyota’s autonomous test facility, located in Ottawa Lake at the Michigan Technical Resource Park, will open this October. It will host “edge case” driving scenarios deemed too dangerous to perform on public roads.
The facility sits inside the Resource Park’s 1.75-mile oval test track. It will include an urban mock-up and slick surfaces as well as a four-lane divided highway with high-speed entrance and exit ramps.
The facility, used exclusively by Toyota, will be tailored to the automaker’s specific needs, says Ryan Eustice, senior vice president of automated driving for the Toyota Research Institute. “This new site will give us the flexibility to customize driving scenarios that will push the limits of our technology and move us closer to conceiving a human-driven vehicle that is incapable of causing a crash.”
Toyota also uses the GoMentum Station in California, where Honda and Lyft have been operating self-driving cars. Mcity in Ann Arbor and the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti are Toyota’s other partners.
The automaker’s Lexus LS research vehicle and e-Palette concept point to its vision for a highly automated future. Last year, Toyota’s chief of advanced R&D and engineering efforts expressed concerns with Level 3 autonomy. In fact, the company might skip this stage altogether and jump directly to more advanced autonomous systems.
“Autonomy is safety-first,” said Kiyotaka Ise. “The human-machine interface is the biggest concern with Level 3, in terms of the limbo of several seconds during the exchange between the system and human. Going straight to Level 4 may make better sense.”