Toyota to build Michigan test facility for automated driving technology

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The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has revealed plans to build a custom test course in the infield of the Michigan Technical Resource Park (MITRP). The facility is slated to be operational by October and will be used to recreate high-risk driving situations in a controlled environment.

TRI is the Toyota Motor Company’s research department and focuses on smart mobility of the future, in particular autonomous driving. To be able to effectively test ‘edge case scenarios’ that are too dangerous for public roads, TRI has designed the 243,000m² (60 acre) course and will also remain responsible for future maintenance.

The course replicates congested urban streets, including slick surfaces and multi-lane roads with high-speed slip roads. In addition, TRI will have access to the existing oval track and other on-site facilities.

The new site expands TRI’s closed-course testing capabilities, adding to the partnerships already in place with GoMentum Station in California, and Mcity and the American Center for Mobility in Michigan.

The MITRP site has been a vehicle proving ground since 1968, when it was created by US driveline component manufacturer Dana. The 1.36km² (336 acre) technology park was sold to a private developer in 2010, and it now operates as a venue for the automotive, commercial vehicle and mobile off-highway vehicle builders and component suppliers to test and develop technology.

By Ilya Verpraet

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As editor of four magazines at UKi Media & Events James brings over a decade of writing about, and obsessing over, technology and cars to Automotive Interiors World, Stadia, Winter Sports Technology International and Auditoria. Responsible for commissioning, writing and editing each issue he’s covered the best (and worst) from around the industry on a continual search to feature the latest innovation or talking point on the next cover.

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