Toyota Research Institute to test automated vehicles in Tokyo

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The Toyota Research Institute will be demonstrating its P4 automated vehicle in Tokyo’s Odaiba District in the summer of 2020. The vehicles are classed at SAE Level 4, but the area is busy with pedestrians, heavy traffic, unusual road layouts and tall glass buildings, providing the technology with plenty of challenges.

Toyota has already been testing the P4 at a purpose-built 60-acre facility at Michigan Technical Resource Park in Ottawa Lake.

“By constructing a course for ourselves, we can design it around our unique testing needs and rapidly advance capabilities, especially with Toyota Guardian automated vehicle mode,” said Ryan Eustice, TRI senior vice president of automated driving.

“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.”

Gill Pratt, CEO of the research institute, maintains that developing active vehicle safety, automated driving technologies, artificial intelligence, and robotics will help create a future where everyone has the freedom to explore, but without the pressure of taking the wheel themselves. Self-driving trucks will transform the haulage industry and robotaxis will soon be ubiquitous in cities, but this transport revolution will also filter down to everyday users, such as older people who usually are less mobile.

“By challenging ourselves to operate autonomously in Odaiba, we have set a high bar that requires us to expand the capabilities of our technology rapidly,” said Pratt. “To accomplish that, we are working with the advanced R&D division of Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD) in Tokyo. They are responsible for bringing the P4’s automated driving software to the public.”

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Liam is a freelance writer and sub-editor for The Daily Telegraph. He has written 70 books on subjects ranging from the history of Ferrari and Formula 1 to the world’s most famous TV cars. He has edited another 40 books, including the Discarded Science series by Hugo Award-winning author John Grant. He is also the author of eight screenplays, two of which are now in pre-production.

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